“Boiling the Ocean…”

At one point during the September 28 gubernatorial debate between Demcorat Jerry brown, Republican candidate Meg Whitman said this:

“I am a big believer in a crisis you can only focus on a small number of things. You cannot go to Sacramento and boil the ocean.”

For those unfamiliar with the idiom, WiseGEEK offers this assistance:

“Boiling the ocean … can have a few related meanings. One is that it is obviously impossible to boil theocean. Where would you start? Thus boiling the ocean can refer to an impossible task — something so complicated it’s hard to know where to begin.

“Another definition of the boiling the ocean is used in business and tends to relate to projects that are hugely complex, perhaps overly so. The idea of boiling the whole ocean means that you are concerned with a minutia of fine details. This may mean that you’re being thorough or it could mean that you have made something so complex you can never accomplish your goals.”

(Editor’s Note: Click the link above for ruminations on the phrase’s origin.)


Filed under: Politics


  1. Maybe the definition of insanity is repeating Einstein’s quote about it over and over again and expecting different polling results.

    Comment by D Mitchell — 9.29.2010 @ 5:47 am

  2. So while the inimitable Ms. Whitman is focusing on a small number of things, who the [BLEEP]does she think is going to take charge of all the rest of the state’s many many many needs?

    Comment by Celtic Snake — 9.29.2010 @ 9:04 am

  3. And so focusing on three things and getting something done is now a bad thing. What about having the highest paid teachers in the nation yet still falling to the lowest level of money spent per student. And let’s not forget the amount of welfare we have. I think getting people back to work and off welfare if far more fulfilling for them then giving them larger hand outs.

    Comment by mangementslug — 9.29.2010 @ 9:48 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment