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March 20, 2009

Meg, As In Megabucks


In her blog post about the cover, Fortune’s editor tells us that former eBay CEO Meg Whitman is vying for governor of California in “Ronald Reagan-style.”

So that’s what they were going for … because the touting of Whitman’s CEO status against the much larger background of the Wall Street meltdown and the political rioting over AIG, not to mention just the association with prodigious “fortune” — as seen through the fine duds, Brandy there on the left, and the flaunting of exclusive California beach front — seems particular flat-footed.

Brandy, we’re also told, isn’t Whitman’s, but the former McCain advisor does ride in Telluride where she has a vacation home. What the intro also gives away is that this Half Moon Bay shoot wasn’t so easy. Writes Fortune’s Patricia Sellers: “Brandy was so spirited that the candidate had to show off her riding chops to keep the horse from throwing her or running away.”

But you could tell that already by the (decidedly un-Reagan-like) all-too-tight grip on the lead.

(image: Ben Baker. Half Moon Bay, CA. March 7, 2009)

  • Kris T

    I wonder how many photos it took to capture the one where Whitman looks relaxed facially, despite her overly tight and close grip on the lead. I agree flaunting beachfront, Telluride vacation home, horses and CEO status isn’t necessarily a smart strategy!

    • Wayne Dickson

      Interesting, Kris. I think your point is well taken in principle. But to me her face, with taught jaw and sliiiiightly downturned mouth, seems as tense as her grip.

  • flyingshark

    I had almost the same thought: is that the best one they had? Hate to see the rest.
    Really seems, pardon the pun, ham-handed across the board from a magazine of Fortune’s caliber. More like an out-take from a Texas Monthly shoot.
    She looks terrible. Her left eye seems droopy, make-up pasty, even with the fake color in her cheeks, and her hair is flat. Let alone all the points Bag makes about the rope, etc.
    If the horse doesn’t want to be there, why should we?

  • wagonjak

    Love the stupid headline too…Can Meg Whitman Save California?
    Easy answer, NO, because she will never be elected…

  • Clem Guttata

    Someone messed up. This is not a power political pose. In this age of lookism, it helps to show some pearly white teeth or at least the whites of your eyes.
    The country just elevated a former community organizer to the White House. Personally, I really like the idea of a political leader who does something, not someone who spends their days riding horses on the beach.
    As to any “Dutch” allusions, I thought the current CA Gov. came in Ronald Reagan style? Why would the voters want a sequel?

  • antpoppa

    Which one is Meg??

  • essjay

    Gahh! That photo looks like a sub-par cover for “St. Louis Living” or “Duluth Today!”.
    Not that there’s anything wrong with that [cough, cough].

  • Rhodo Zeb

    She does have that horse’s head jammed against her shoulder, doesn’t she?
    I hope I do not appear overly cynical or looksist if I point out that she needs a make-over. Her hair is flat and lifeless, for one, and after that, well I am no pro. Considering the fact that she decided to make this run some time ago, I would presume she has already hired a political consultant. That, in turn, implies that she is arrogant and won’t listen to advice. Perhaps. And perhaps she learned some bad habits after working for the McCain campaign.
    When I first heard she planned to run I just laughed; she has zero chance of winning. She is famous for her time at ebay, but no one really credits her with ebay’s success, as it was already taking off when she was brought in. Indeed, she is more remembered for hurting ebay with her ill-fated deals later on.
    I am going to enjoy this one.

  • susan

    I don’t have much hope for CA; they elected a cartoon character to preside over the world’s sixth largest economy.

  • essjay

    Cover photo for “Clothing You Don’t Understand and Can’t Afford Anyway Daily”

  • bystander

    I see real intelligence in Brandy’s eyes. Dunno… I think if I lived in California I’d “write in” the horse.

  • kailuahale

    Question is: Can Meg Whitman BUY California?

  • Wayne Dickson

    Was Ronald Reagan ever a CEO? B-level actor? Yes. B-level TV host/shill? Yes. But I don’t remember his having been a CEO of a major corporation.

    From specific example to general principle, though, is having been a CEO the best qualification for significant public office?

    Obviously, the governmental executive’s inner circle should include persons who understand at first hand, not just theoretically, the worlds of business and finance. That’s a given.

    The question is the perspective from which, and the values through which, the executive herself/himself will interpret and apply expert knowledge, and the goals toward which that executive will direct policy.

    A government is not a business. (And, pardon a personal peeve, neither is a university.) Business acumen? Invaluable. Business values? The current economic collapse, and the current oil spill are direct results of yielding to business, Gordon Gecko values.

    No thanks.

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