If you're coming in late:
Meg Whitman, the fourth richest woman in California, thinks she should be governor, presumably because the three richer women are busy. She freely admits that this idea just popped into her head about 18 months ago. Before then she wasn't a member of any party and hadn't even voted very often. That's the kind of delightful English-style eccentric she is. She might as well have decided she was Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
Then a funny thing happened to another part of her brain, the area where memories are stored: It became less and less clear if she had voted before 2002 -- she claimed she had -- or if she had ever registered as a Republican in another state -- another claim she'd made and frequently repeated.
No one had seen any evidence to support either assertion. A reporter asked Multipersonality Meg if she could help.
"Go find it," Meg snapped. Charmingly. I have to feed these birds tuppence a bag.
So the Sacramento Bee tried to find it. But they couldn't. In fact, the Sacramento Bee couldn't find a record of Meg Whitman voting anywhere. Or even registering to vote.
This led to Meg Whitman having a very bad press conference. Her advisors, who had already been paid close to two million dollars, gave her some very cheap advice: Say you take full responsibility. If questioned further, repeat.
This didn't go over well.
So, the next day, they gave her a new answer: She didn't vote because:
"I was busy raising kids, running businesses, being married to a neurosurgeon."
The one who did my lobotomy.
This answer ("Between 1974 and 2002 I was in surgery") didn't hold either. So yesterday they came up with something else:
Nothing is knowable.
Here's an open letter from the Whitman Campaign:
That would be Amy Chance, political editor of the Sacramento Bee.
Thank you for our conversations in recent days regarding The Sacramento Bee's September 24th story on Meg's voting history. As we discussed, the campaign has been in the process of reconciling its information and Meg's recollections with The Bee's coverage.
Nothing says "moral high ground" like "we're reconciling our recollections."
What did Meg know, and which of her personalities knew it?
So far, we have found a number of disturbing discrepancies that raise serious questions about the quality of The Bee's reporting and the integrity of your newspaper.
The reporting that the candidate didn't dispute last week.
For starters, The Bee reported that while Meg lived in San Francisco from 1981 to 1989, she was not registered to vote and did not vote.
The Bee didn't report that. They said they "found no evidence that she participated in elections" and that neither the candidate nor her campaign would provide any.
The problem we have with this is that Meg clearly remembers voting on multiple occasions, including the 1984 and 1988 presidential elections.
She just never told the Sacramento Bee, or another living soul.
Because voting for Reagan and Bush made her ashamed. Makes sense to me.
How dare the Bee not report what she didn't tell them?
As Meg prepared to enter the race, our campaign requested her voting records from the San Francisco registrar and was told that no records were available from 1981 to 1989. We have a letter from the registrar confirming that fact.
Proving the existence of the post office, and our mailbox.
After your story ran, we went back to the San Francisco registrar and asked them to confirm your assertion that Meg had not registered or voted in San Francisco between 1981 and 1989. They could not. The registrar's office again confirmed in writing that it no longer has records for voters prior to 1992. Records from that period were never transferred and they simply don't have them.
The Bee didn't assert anything. It said there was no record, and Meg wasn't talking.
The registrar's office also doesn't have a record of Meg Whitman's whereabouts on the nights of the Zodiac killings. This proves something, but it's not clear exactly what.
In an attempt to confirm our findings,
There aren't any findings.
We then asked the registrar to provide voting information for several prominent San Franciscans, including Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi.
Because we hate registrars.
(Dianne Feinstein was Mayor of San Francisco from 1978 to 1988. Nancy Pelosi has lived in San Francisco since 1969 and was elected to Congress in 1987.)
I'm sure the Sacramento Bee was glad to hear that.
The registrar's office came back in writing with the same result. There are no records in any system of Dianne Feinstein or Nancy Pelosi voting in San Francisco prior to 1992.
Clearly, Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein voted in San Francisco during the 1980s, and so did Meg Whitman.
Take a moment and let that settle in.
The frontrunner for the Republican nomination for Governor of California just proved she votes using the argumentum ad ignorantiam and the transitivity of implication.
Now that's a candidate who values education.
That which cannot be disproved must be believed. The evidence that Meg Whitman voted sometime between her 18th birthday and her 46th is that there's no proof she didn't. (Except her own admission, before she began the process of reconciling her recollections.) The other evidence that Meg Whitman voted is that Nancy Pelosi voted. The evidence that Nancy Pelosi voted is that there's no evidence that she did.
And in a tomb in Hanover, Leibniz's head explodes.
My head hurts too. But here's what I think. I think Meg Whitman misled her campaign advisors. (And why shouldn't she? She's the boss.) I think she told them she voted when she didn't. I think she never registered to vote because when you register to vote you get called for jury duty, and when you get called for jury duty you miss work, and work's where the money is.
I think she didn't think it was going to be a big deal, but it is, because she's handling it so badly.
I think she's a bad liar and the people who work for her are insulting liars.
But then, how can I be sure? I only know what I read in the paper, and perceive with my senses.