Meg Whitman Now More Retired from eBay Than Ever

The famously frumpy former CEO of eBay, Meg Whitman, is veering closer to entering California's governor 2010 race, quitting the boards of Procter & Gamble, eBay, and Dreamworks Animation SKG.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, can't run again because of California's term-limits laws, which means the 2010 race to replace the Governator is wide open on both sides — the only kind of scenario in which a political novice like Whitman might even consider running for office. (She could even face a former employee: Steve Westly, an eBay executive who won election as California's state controller in 2002, is a Democratic contender.)

Why won't Whitman just come out and say she's running as a Republican candidate? Her off-again, on-again efforts are increasingly bizarre. She didn't even register as a party member until 2007, when she started working on Mitt Romney's doomed campaign. She then staked out a far-right position on gay marriage, at odds with eBay's HR practices. She has yet to form an exploratory committee, a necessary step before she can start raising money for the 2010 election.

And yet she is taking vigorous action against a California businessman who registered several domain names related to a Whitman gubernatorial campaign. Henry Gomez, a former eBay executive who now serves as her spokesman, offered the lamest possible explanation for the effort: "We're retired. We're bored."

Whitman must be even more restless, now that she's quit her corporate boards. But her pseudocampaign is off to a rocky start. She hired Republican operative Steve Schmidt, who ran campaigns for George Bush, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and John McCain, last fall — but he quietly quit the Whitman effort in December. One step forward, one step back. She's not even running, and yet Whitman's finding politics much harder than business.

(Photo by Getty Images)