iCarly

Joining Dr. Ben Carson’s entrance into the GOP nomination pool, former Hewlett-Packard CEO, Carly Fiorina, announced her presidential campaign. Fiorina leads the pack of Republican hopefuls in her incisive critiques of Democrat frontrunner, Hillary Clinton.

We must understand our role in the world – which is to lead – and the nature of our allies and especially, our adversaries. Like Hillary Clinton, I too have travelled hundreds of thousands of miles around the globe. But unlike her, I have actually accomplished something…Mrs. Clinton, flying is an activity not an accomplishment.”

This, her most memorable line so far, provides a glimpse into her vision of American leadership in foreign affairs, but also her feistiness. In this statement, Fiorina asks the most important question Mrs. Clinton must answer: In the many years you have spent in public service, what have you done for this country that you take pride in?

Turning this question around on her, many of her detractors, including some on the right, note that Fiorina has never worked in government. She ran for Senate in California in 2010 and lost–giving Republicans desperate for a presidential win reason for reconsideration. Fiorina, though, answers that her tenure at Hewlett-Packard makes her uniquely qualified, at least among the rest of the GOP field, to be president. This assertion speaks to an issue in presidential politics in which the voters do not know what careers best prepare their employees to be president of the United States. Furthermore, her tenure at Hewlett-Packard is not without its share of detractors.

“Fiorina’s short time at Hewlett-Packard is all we need to know — laying off 30,000 employees, while being rewarded with a multimillion dollar bonus,” Democratic National Committee Press Secretary Holly Shulman said in a statement. “If this is how Fiorina ran her business, just imagine what she would do to the country.”

Of course, most conservatives understand exactly what difficulties face business executives who run for office. “The fact is, business people have to make tough decisions,” Mart Wilson, Fiorina’s 2010 Senate campaign manager said to CNN. “In the end,” says Sarah Isgur Flores, Fiorina’s deputy campaign manager, “the company succeeded and grew [through the Great Recession] because of her tough choices.”

The problem Fiorina faces in defending her record is that for Republicans to win in 2016, a case must be made to independent voters–voters who do not understand and grant the same deference to business leaders as conservatives do. Fiorina’s populist message, painting her failed Senate campaign as a plus that allows her to benefit from her status as a “Washington Outsider,” will be damaged or bolstered by the way she answers criticisms about her tenure as Hewlett-Packard’s CEO.
At this point, though, Fiorina’s participation in the GOP presidential field goes a long way to helping the party showcase its diversity. Showcasing the Party’s bright, successful, fiery women can erode the stereotypes liberals paint of a paternalistic Republican Party insensitive to women’s issues. Fiorina can sting Hillary Clinton in ways that none of the Republican men can without seeming like bullies. Even if Fiorina does not win the nomination, she could still serve as a strong Vice Presidential pick, or as a positive voice for the 2016 campaign.

One comment

  1. Finally I’ve caught up in commenting on the actual articles you’ve written! I agree with everything you’ve written here but I would go even farther. Ms. Fiorina is extremely impressive. Before anyone declared their candidacy, my choice was (and still is to a large degree) Chris Christie. I would like someone as conservative as possible who is fearless, who can articulate our conservative values, and can persuade non-Republicans in a positive way to our party’s message. Christie fits that bill well and so does Rubio. I;ve been a huge fan since he debuted in 2010. However I am a HUGE fan of this woman. If you listen to how well she answers her detractors, listen to some of her tough interviews with both people like Chris Wallace of Fox News:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2015/05/31/carly_fiorina_in-depth_interview_with_fox_news_sunday.html

    or with leftists in disguise as journalists such as Katie Couric:

    http://news.yahoo.com/carly-fiorina-interview-with-katie-couric-200949497.html

    or Chuck Todd:

    http://redalertpolitics.com/2015/05/10/carly-fiorina-gets-last-laugh-awkward-interview-chuck-todd-meet-press/

    I know when people are persuasive. I do it for a living and I know how to read jurors and judges as to when they are convinced and when they are not. I never thought Romney or McCain knew how to persuade effectively and with that smiling killer instinct. Reagan was a master at this and when Bush the younger wanted to, he was very good. Giuliani was good and so is Susanna Martinez. So is Rubio and Christie is a master at this. And so is Fiorina. She is fierce, fearless, and impressive. When I can, I’ll be donating to her and Rubio. We need the good people like them to stand out and I think Fiorina will surprise everyone. When she ran for the senate against Boxer in 2010, Fiorina came a lot closer than anyone ever thought possible:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2010/senate/ca/california_senate_boxer_vs_fiorina-1094.html

    I mean this is California!! Boxer should have won 60-70% of the votes at least. Instead Fiorina won 42% of the votes. I believe she can really stand out and is a lot more talented than many of the candidates today. I’m excited to see what happens.

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