The other day CNN changed their rules for the upcoming debate such that Carly Fiorina can be at the adult table this time. To no one’s surprise the media was giddy over the prospect. Rich Lowry was out in his cheerleader outfit, waving the Fiorina pom-poms. David French had a piece up telling us that Fiorina is the next Margaret Thatcher. My hunch is Conservative Inc. is convinced she can derail Trump and maybe fool his voters into supporting her.
It’s not a terrible idea as GOP voters are like everyone else these days. They are marinated in the proselytizing of the Cult of Modern Liberalism. White men are bad. Women and minorities are good. That means the dream candidate for many voters is a one-legged lesbian Elvis impersonator of color. All Florina has to do is wave around a little American flag and make the right noises about abortion and she’s in double digits.
Fiorina is in many ways emblematic of what’s gone wrong with the GOP. The party is now seen as a craven insider party willing to make whatever cynical deals it needs to make in order to please the donor base. The reason Trump and to a lesser degree Carson are polling so well is they don’t have the stink of McConnell and Boehner on them. The party’s media arm is therefore pumping air into Fiorina ‘s tires thinking that will satisfy the hoi polloi.
That may not be totally fair to Fiorina, but the fact is she is where she is strictly because she lacks a penis and gave a lot of money to Republicans in the past. If she had a penis, she is Brian Russell. Having a moderately successful corporate career is simply not enough to run for president and get more than a few votes. Her resume says Congress, not president.
Of course, that resume is not exactly sterling either. She finished her corporate career as CEO of HP and was the anti-Steve Jobs, because she took a strong brand and ran it into the ground. Under her watch, HP lost half its share price and shed thousands of jobs trying to stem the bleeding. Her tenure is considered one of the biggest fiascoes in Silicon Valley history. HP share holders held parties after she was fired and the stock jumped 10% that day.
She was also a disaster at her previous stop. Lucent does not get much attention when people talk about Fiorina’s resume, but it is probably the most telling part of her story. She swung big deals that looked great on paper, but ended up saddling the company with massive debts that eventually killed the firm. Like everything else in the go-go Clinton years, Lucent was a big bust-out that skimmed billions from suckers through inflated stock prices.
In other places, I’ve called Fiorina the original Ellen Pao and the more I think about it the more I like it. In the 80’s, as the Boomers took over businesses, this weird creature appeared on the scene – the female executive. Every company wanted the power girl on their brochure and in their executive suites. Most were probably qualified, but a lot rode the warm upward currents of affirmative action to positions for which they were unqualified.
Putting that aside, assuming I’m just a bad thinker, she has run for office in the past. In 2010 she took on the rapidly decaying Barbara Boxer, who is as popular as rectal cancer in California. That was a great year for Republicans and a moderate like Fiorina running against an old bag should have been a race. Instead Fiorina ran a comically bad campaign and lost by double digits.
The thing about that race is it looked just like the 1994 Senate race in Massachusetts where Mitt Romney took on Ted Kennedy. Fat boy was on the ropes as the locals were ready for a change. His drunken antics were even embarrassing to Mass voters and Romney was a modern, moderate Republican in the old Yankee tradition. Plus, 1994 was shaping up to be a monster year for the GOP.
I was in a restaurant in Saugus Mass the night of the big debate. It seemed like everyone got up and went into the bar to see Fat Boy finally get taken down. Teddy was sober and played the dead relative card. Mitt folded and he looked scared. Everyone left the bar and went back to their tables. It was over and everyone knew it. Romney saw his polls collapsed and he was crushed in the election.
That should have been the end of it for Mitt, but he was rich and determined. He retooled and won the governorship. Then he retooled again to run for president. All that retooling left a guy who was willing to say anything to win. Even by the standards of politics, Mitt Romney was a gold plated phony. You see the same pattern with Fiorina, except she is skipping the run for governor. But, she’s still Mitt Romney is a skirt.