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The Fiorina Phenomenon

September 18, 2015

If you are of the mind that a woman should be President, or even just think that at least a woman couldn’t screw up the country any worse than her male predecessors, then you were watching Carly Fiorina during the second GOP debate.

Despite Chris Christie’s probably accurate comment that the average voter doesn’t really care about the business resume of any of the non-political candidates, what these so-called Washington outsiders have done in the past does matter.

After all, Governor Christie, like all of the other candidates on the dais that night has certainly touted his own political record.

Frankly, it is unlikely that most Twitter-YouTube-Facebook dependent voters care about Christie’s record as a Federal prosecutor, or what Governor Kasich did 20 years ago regarding a balanced budget either. After all, some of the people that will be voting in 2016 weren’t even born then.

It’s all about what are you going to do for me today and tomorrow for a large part of the electorate. At this point, none of the candidates are strong enough to make the typical pie-in-the-sky promises that get candidates elected with any credibility.

Unfortunately for the process, past performance is about all we have to go on at this point when trying to reach an opinion on which candidate is lying to us the least.

So what about Carly Fiorina’s performance Wednesday?

If nothing else, she certainly came across as having a strong personality and the moxie to fight for her candidacy.

Predictably, Donald Trump brought up her ouster as Hewlett-Packard’s head honcho back in 2005, and the layoff of some 30,000 workers as part of HP’s ill-fated merger/takeover of rival computer manufacturer, Compaq.   She hit back with an enumeration of Trump’s involvement in several bankruptcies related to his investment/ownership of some entertainment properties.

For those that don’t follow the fortunes of CEO’s and corporations, layoffs are an inevitable part of mergers or other business decisions. In fact, HP’s current CEO Meg Ryan has announced that as the company spins off  into two separate entities this year, it expects to lay off some 30,000 workers.  It happens whenever a company’s workforce becomes too large and nonproductive for the good of the balance sheet.

Come to think of it, isn’t that exact condition one of the knocks on Washington now?

For anyone who doesn’t understand how similar corporate and government politics are, an interesting sidebar to the HP-Fiorina split can be found in this contemporaneous Bloomberg news article.

Most recently, (since 2012) Ms Fiorina has been holding the position of chair of the well-regarded nonprofit, Good360, formerly known as Gifts in Kind.

Ms. Fiorina did what she needed to do to get on the country’s political radar. She has the fleeting attention of the current news cycle, and that’s certainly more than some of her political rivals have at the moment.

As the only GOP candidate who can take on Hillary Clinton without being painted as a male chauvinist pig, she certainly should have some appeal to the big-money donors.

One of the knocks while she was at HP was that she was not a delegator. Given that the current officeholder is seen as someone who primarily lets his inner circle handle a bit too much of his job, that might not be a drawback as a candidate.

On the other hand, if she actually wins, trying to be in charge of everything at all times might get her bogged down in the minutiae of trying to run a whole country.

Although the tiresome and somewhat puerile format of the last debate didn’t give her a lot of time to lay out her specific goals she was able to show that she had some pretty credible financial, foreign affairs  and international chops.

At a time when everyone is looking for a strong leader and advocate for the country, she certainly didn’t come across as anybody’s sweet cuddly granny.

Watching her during the debate, you got the impression that if she is ticked off, it’s going to be pretty hard to miss it.

Time will tell if she is just another early fall pre-primary flash-in-the-pan flavor of the moment.

Somehow though, you get the impression she’s going to fight like hell to make sure that she’s still around come time to vote in the winter and spring of 2016.

It’ll be interesting to see how that pans out.

From → op-ed

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