Jul 262010
Former CEO of Hewlett-Packard Carly Fiorina
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Long a bastion for Democratic voters, the Bay Area will carry the torch into the November election, hoping to put a democrat in the governor’s office and prevent Barbara Boxer’s Senate seat from falling into Republican hands. Carly Fiorina is threatening to give Boxer a serious challenge, but a video released on Sunday may help to tilt the scale.

The short video on YouTube, created by Brave New Films, shows Fiorina singing praises for the Tea Party and stating that she agrees with their views. Of course this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, but in a state where 45% of registered voters who identify with a party are Democrats, and even the Republicans voters tend to be more moderate, strong Tea Party ties may not be advantageous.

A Rasmussen poll from July 14 shows Boxer maintaining a small lead at 49% support compared to Fiorina’s 42%. But a 7% lead does not a victory make, especially in a midterm election where conservatives are more motivated and likely to visit the polls. Barbara Boxer is counting on Democratic strongholds, like Contra Costa County where Democrats are a majority at 50.21% and nearly outnumber Republicans 2 to 1.

As evidenced by Fiorina’s support of the Tea Party, her politics are far from finding resonance with normal California attitudes. But these are not normal times, and Fiorina’s banter touting her business acumen and ability to balance budgets may fit well in the present economic climate. California is broke and struggling, and with unemployment currently at 12.3%, unsuspecting voters just might be swayed by Fiorina’s surface credentials.

But the surface is really all Carly Fiorina has. Even without looking at her Tea Party ties or her anti-abortion stance, a closer look at her business resume should leave any voter questioning both her abilities and her character. Fiorina acknowledges that jobs are a major issue for California, but when it comes to job creation, how much trust should voters place in a person who laid off over 30,000 workers and sent a massive number of jobs to China while heading HP?

Actually, the entire notion that Fiorina is a business professional who’s savvy and capable is suspect, to say the least. True, she was the CEO of HP, but during her tenure, not only was she the champion of hacking jobs, but she also presided over a 52% drop in stock price. In fact, Ms. Fiorina’s leadership record at HP was so abysmal that she was chosen as a member of the Conde Nast Portfolio magazine’s “20 Worst CEOs of all time.”

On the 20 Worst list, Fiorina joined the likes of Dick Fuld of Lehman Bros, Jimmy Cayne of Bear Stearns, and Martin Sullivan of AIG, all of whom showed their abilities and character while driving the country to the brink of economic collapse. Other of Fiorina’s notable “20 Worst” alumnus include Ken Lay of Enron and Bernie Ebbers of WorldCom. The folk at Portfolio had this to say about Fiorina: “a consummate self-promoter, Fiorina was busy pontificating on the lecture circuit and posing for magazine covers while her company floundered. She paid herself handsome bonuses and perks while laying off thousands of employees to cut costs. The merger Fiorina orchestrated with Compaq in 2002 was widely seen as a failure. She was ousted in 2005.” Of course, Fiorina did receive a $40 million golden parachute to leave HP — a slightly better deal than that given the thousands of employees whose jobs she cut.

Fiorina really is a garden variety one-trick pony, typical of her conservative brethren. Regardless of the issue, she offers but one tack — cut. In business that meant jobs, which she so eloquently referred to as “right-shoring.” But in government, she’s already pulled out the conservative playbook; we can create jobs and restore vibrancy to the economy, all we have to do is hack spending and cut taxes.

And the really good news is that Fiorina agrees with other Republicans who recently informed us that we don’t need to pay for tax cuts. Yes sir, the deficit reins supreme, so spending must be offset, but Fiorina subscribes fully to the Republican gospel concerning the budget magic of tax cuts. Falling in behind Senators, Mitch McConnell and John Kyl, Fiorina stated in a CBS interview that, “you don’t need to pay for tax cuts. They pay for themselves, if they are targeted, because they create jobs.” Of course, such myths have been soundly disproven and all empirical evidence is to the contrary, but what the heck — this is politics!

The plain truth is that Carly Fiorina was a terrible CEO and would make an even worse Senator. She cares not about jobs, at least not American jobs, as evidenced in a 2004 speech defending HP’s practice of off-shoring, where she told the crowd, “there is no job that is America’s God-given right anymore.” Which is true, but is it the ideology voters should value in an elected official?

In the end, voters will have to judge whether or not Fiorina is right for California, but when you add up her position to repeal healthcare, her denial that climate change is a serious national issue, her sitting out 15 of the last 23 elections, including the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, and her position on abortion — and then couple them with her elitist attitude on jobs and her belief in voodoo tax cuts, it seems that Carly Fiorina is better suited to serving time in a mental institution than in the United States Senate.

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