Meg Whitman spent a staggering $68 million running for California governor, and all that's bought the former eBay chief is a lead down to nine percentage points from 50 points in March. How terribly embarrassing.

Whitman's rapid loss of support two weeks before the Republican primary is especially sad for her because Poizner is so boring; Whitman's fellow milquetoast tech exec was previously insurance commissioner, of all things. And his strategy for winning—highlighting Whitman's poor voting record, out-demagoguing her on illegal immigrants—is not exactly rocket science. But then Whitman's been a slow student at politics, never properly equipped to pander to the right but unwilling to run as a moderate, pretending the governorship is "not a popularity contest" and then spending a staggering sum to become popular.

Maybe the campaigns of George W. Bush somehow convinced Whitman that a Harvard MBA and tons of cash was all she needed to run a winning election operation. But Bush had an evil genius, and a willingness to follow the evil genius' advice. Whitman hasn't been willing to sink to Rovian depths yet. But then there are still some weeks left to go.