8 Big Reasons Why Carly Fiorina Would Be a Disaster in the Senate
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Republican candidate and itinerant executive Carly Fiorina is on a quixotic quest to unseat Democratic senator Barbara Boxer, one of the Golden State's most progressive politicians with a long history of national service. This alone should prove she isn't very good at either politics or business. But reality, and aggressive GOP backing and funding, dictates differently. So here's a handy list of eight reasons why the ex-Hewlett-Packard CEO is bad biz for those scant few Californians who might still be undecided.
1. She's one of the worst CEOs of all time. One of Fiorina's tentpole mantras is that she ran Hewlett-Packard from 1999-2005. Into the ground, she should have added. Fiorina has been hazed as one of the worst American CEOs of all time for paying herself fat bonuses while axing tens of thousands of California-based employees and offshoring some of their jobs, forcing a doomed merger with computer also-ran Compaq past HP's founding families and board of directors, polishing her public image as the company's stock imploded by more than half during her tenure, and much more -- all before being fired in 2005. (Fired!) Which is why Bill Hewlett and David Packard's grandsons Eric Gimon and Jason Burnett wrote an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle in late October categorizing every one of Fiorina's screw-ups at HP, warning that she would do the same to California, if elected. "Even Wall Street celebrated when Fiorina was fired, sending HP's stock up," Gimon and Burnett argued, which is where it has mostly remained now that Fiorina is a terrible memory. But USA Today tech columnist Kevin Mane probably best described Fiorina's disastrous HP tenure shortly after she was fired: "During her reign of six years, she remade HP about as successfully as William Shatner remade "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."
2. She isn't pro-choice. Fiorina doesn't believe in abortion rights, yet she's running for office in a state that hasn't elected an anti-abortion rights politician for senator or governor in almost three decades. Two-thirds of Californians oppose overturning Roe v. Wade, which Fiorina would overturn "if there were an opportunity," she admitted in a recent debate with Boxer. The best Fiorina can offer the state's majority is the disturbing condescension of statements like, "There are Californians who disagree with me on the sanctity of life." Given that Republicans have repeatedly proven that "life" is one of the things they're happy to write off when the opportunity suits them, we'll let that deranged statement stand on its own lack of merit.
3. She's against gay marriage. When Fiorina did bother to vote, she voted for California's Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage in the state. She supports the Defense of Marriage Act, which allows backwards states to ignore the same-sex marriages of not-backwards states. "Marriage is between a man and a woman," Fiorina has stated. Perhaps someone forgot to remind her that California has a greater LGBT population than any other state. In fact, Fiorina lives only a short drive away from San Francisco, which is over 15 percent gay. Now, that's a hard sell.
4. She doesn't know the difference between climate change and weather. This one should make Californians want to gouge their eyes out. Earlier this year, Fiorina aired an ad using footage of Boxer explaining that climate change is a grave matter of national security. Fiorina's response? "Terrorism kills, and Barbara Boxer is worried about the weather. I’m Carly Fiorina. I ran Hewlett-Packard. I chaired the external advisory board for the CIA. We’ve had enough of her politics. I’ll work to keep you safe."
Fiorina's confusion over weather and climate change not only goes against the majority of worldwide science on the matter, but also the CIA's own Center on Climate Change and National Security. "Fiorina’s first sentence — willfully pretending that being concerned about the threat of global warming is the same as being worried about whether it’s going to rain today — should disqualify anyone for higher office, especially in California," argued Climate Progress blogger and author Joseph Romm. Naturally, so should being in favor of off-shore drilling after the BP catastrophe. But Fiorina is both.
5. She supports Arizona's immigration crackdown. Fiorina called Arizona's noxious SB-1070, which codifies racial profiling and injustice, “necessary because the Federal Government isn’t doing its job and the people in Arizona are in danger.” That endorsement doesn't jibe with Fiorina's plan to win Latino voters, nor with the reality that California, the most populous state in America, is barely 40 percent white and will perhaps witness a Latino majority by 2020. Last-gasp crackers like Fiorina and the so-called Tea Party anachronists she's emulating, are making it hard for those of us who have no problem with California's demographics to live side-by-side in peace with people of color. The last thing Fiorina should be is given is a position of power, of any kind.
6. Fiorina's CIA service is not fit for public consumption. She may have argued that chairing an external advisory board for the Central Intelligence Agency is evidence of her desire to keep Californians safe, but the details on both claims are nonexistent. When California Watch fired off a Freedom of Information Access request asking for evidence of Fiorina's work with the CIA, it promptly received a box stuffed with 30 pages of blank paper. And no, that wasn't her California voting record. It was evidence that not only is Fiorina's record with the CIA a mystery, but that Americans do not have the rights to corroborate her electoral claims with that handy measuring stick called reality.
7. Even Silicon Valley Republicans have turned their backs on her. In a pioneering progressive state home to tech titans like Apple and Google, Californians are being asked to vote on Hewlett-Packard and eBay castoffs like Fiorina and Meg Whitman. But while fully loaded Republican activists from Silicon Valley like Alan Salzman are hot for Whitman, another crappy tech CEO, they're mostly fish-cold on Fiorina. Meanwhile, Google, Oracle, Intel and even HP have donated to Boxer, who is a trusted ally for Silicon Valley compared to Fiorina, who left it in disgrace. If you follow the local money, chances are you follow a trail that leads away from Fiorina in a fat hurry. But if you're looking for those who are funding Fiorina, try the embattled Chamber of Commerce, which has pumped nearly an astounding $5 million into Fiorina's campaign, more than double what it has spent on the Senate race in Florida.
8. She's failed to vote in 75 percent of California's elections since 2000, but still wants your vote. "I'm a lifelong registered Republican, but I haven't always voted, and I will provide no excuse for it," Fiorina admitted with a straight face in 2009. "You know, people die for the right to vote. And there are many, many Californians and Americans who exercise that civic duty on a regular basis. I didn't. Shame on me." We agree. Voters should reward Fiorina's voter inaction by not voting for her.
Given her spotty record so far, Fiorina willl kill local jobs and send them overseas, pay herself extremely well, continue to demonize the state's gays while offending sympathetic straights, criminalize its immigrant population, roll back California's progress on combating climate change, and much worse. If that's what you're looking for in a senator, then perhaps it's time to move to another state.