The lesson of Meg Whitman’s loss: Big spenders alienate voters

It’s one thing to have money. It’s another to flaunt it, and Whitman flaunted it from the moment she announced her campaign budget. Consequently, the story of her campaign was always less about substance and more about how much she was spending.

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It started when she misread her primary opponent, Steve Poizner, and tried unsuccessfully to intimidate him into withdrawing from the race by making it clear how much she was willing to spend. And she never moved beyond the “big spender” image to show herself as an appealing and authentic person. That meant that when controversies arose — such as the revelation that she had employed an illegal immigrant — she didn’t have the kind of rapport with voters that would have allowed her to quickly rise above them.

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