This is still the newborn stage of Meg Whitman’s political career. And career transitions are always tough. But I’m disappointed with how she launched her gubernatorial bid.

I don’t have any particularly problem with what she said in interviews with the LA Times and NBC’s Today show. Most of it was boiler plate. I even thought it was a tiny bit brave, for a Republican running in a closed Republican primary, to offer a complex position on gay marriage (she’s against it but for protecting the marriages of those who married lawfully last year – which Republicans should understand as respect for the rule of law – and for adoption by gay couples, a moral imperative in a world with too many parentless or unwanted children).

What disappointed me was how and where Whitman said what she said. Her web page promises “A New California,” but she relied on old media to deliver the message. Her rollout should have felt new, and it should have used the web in more creative ways. That’s an imperative when you’re running on your record at a pioneering Internet company like eBay. At the very least, I had expected some kind of clever, funny web video, perhaps built around the theme of an auction. Such a video could have played with the fact that the positions of any new politician are very much a work in progress; voters could have made their bids – or arguments – for her views. Instead, the interviews felt flat, more than 20th century than 21st.

Whitman isn’t alone in missing this opportunity. Her opponent, insurance commissioner Steve Poizner, isn’t wowing anyone on the web (though his most recent on-line gambit, an on-line contest asking voters to submit videos that offer solutions to California’s problems, isn’t bad). And the current governor, whose political career is a tale of missed opportunities, never managed to turn all the energy and passion for his recall campaign into a web-based network to help develop and push specific policy solutions. If he had, he might have accomplished much more.

Whitman’s web site does offer one promising little application that may suggest she’s going to get there. A link on the site asks Californians to tell their story. When you click it, you’re brought to a page on the web site of a California social networking company called Tokoni, which was founded in late 2007 by a couple, Alex Kazim and Mary Lou Song, who are both former eBay executives. There, people are asked to tell stories about themselves and California. You don’t have to be Whitman specific (though there are predictably pro-Whitman posts on the site). If this becomes a real conversation about California’s future, that’d be great. For now, I’m waiting for Meg 2.0.