By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
According to the Associated Press, two high-profile women running for California offices have spotty voting records. They are U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, who is challenging longtime incumbent Barbara Boxer, and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, who is running for governor. I don't know about you, but I'd have a hard time voting for someone who didn't have the time to participate in the voting process at an earlier stage of their career:
The former head of Hewlett-Packard, who is running for the seat now held by Democrat Barbara Boxer, said she has no excuse for not voting more often when people have died for that right.
"I'm a lifelong registered Republican but I haven't always voted," she said Thursday during an event in Sacramento. "And I will provide no excuse for it. You know, people die for the right to vote. And there are many, many Californians and Americans who exercise that civic duty on a regular basis. I didn't. Shame on me."
Fiorina's frank assessment of her inconsistent past appears to be a campaign strategy to blunt potential criticism after Whitman found herself in the middle of a political firestorm over her poor voting record.
I have interviewed Fiorina several times and she is a capable, extremely intelligent person. One would think both she and Whitman, high-tech mavens that they are, would have been able to put a note in their BlackBerrys to have their assistants procure absentee ballots, even if they were out of state on Election Day. It's no mean feat running a major company, I acknowledge that.
But if you're not committed enough to the political process that you vote, then why the heck are you running for office?
Is it a fatal flaw? Of course not. I'm much more concerned with a politician's stand on economic issues, on social issues, etc. But it sure speaks uncomplimentary volumes about their commitment to exercise a right that their predecessors died to assure they would have.