Commentary: Whitman's support for Boxer was all about business

Despite her handlers' best efforts, Meg Whitman provided a little too much truth the other day.

The billionaire Republican candidate for governor, striving to hang onto her lead in the polls, was fending off the attacks by her foe, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, in the Sunday debate.

Whitman spends tens of millions on advertising to shape public perceptions of her and her opponents, rarely offering voters much true insight into her thinking. There have been a few exceptions.

One moment of truth-telling came when Poizner made an impertinent comment questioning the Republican credentials of Whitman, given her support of Sen. Barbara Boxer's re-election six years ago. It's a tough issue for Whitman. Boxer is one of those Democrats whom Republicans especially love to hate.

For public consumption back at the time, Whitman offered a lofty reason. Then eBay's chief executive officer, Whitman was one of 18 high-tech company bosses and venture capitalists who lent their names to a letter proclaiming their fealty to Boxer.

Whitman's quote in 2003 was especially laudatory: "Barbara Boxer is a courageous leader and friend of California's technology industry."

Whitman's endorsement had nothing to do with "courage." The decision had nothing to with issues that might motivate most voters, like the candidate's stand on the environment, the economy, abortion rights, the Second Amendment, marriage, government spending or even general questions of taxation.

To read the complete column, visit www.sacbee.com.