Of all Republican presidential candidates relegated to last week’s pre-debate debate (otherwise known as the “kid’s table” or “happy hour”) Carly Fiorina impressed the adults in the Party the most. In a recent Suffolk University poll of Iowa Republicans, more than 82 percent of poll respondents said that of the seven second-tier debate participants, Fiorina impressed them the most; nearly 93 percent of the Iowans polled by Suffolk said that Fiorina should be invited in the future to debate at the “adult table” against top-tier Republicans.
There are two ways of looking at Fiorina’s success. One, she was working against a weak field (Jim Gilmore, Bobby Jindal, really?) Two, she really was impressive and looked presidential… at least as presidential as the underwhelming other ten candidates that made it to the prime-time debate.
I’m going with number one, with a slight twist. Most Republican voters simply don’t know much about her. They believe she was a successful female executive at a large tech company and that’s it.
As more ink is devoted to the Carly Fiorina story, more voters will come to know her the way many Californians already do; as the lousy CEO of one of Silicon Valley’s marquee corporations, Hewlett-Packard, and as the losing candidate against Sen. Barbara Boxer in 2010.
Fiorina’s calling card is her business experience. She touts her rise to the top from a lowly secretary at a small real estate company to the leadership of one of the most beloved corporations.
But after a rocket-like ascent, she was fired from HP in early 2005 amid tumult with her board of directors. All in all, under her leadership, HP’s stock price fell a whooping 54 percent, making it one of the worst performing high-tech firms during that time. She did leave with a severance package estimated at $40 million, which speaks well for her negotiating skills, or those of her lawyers!
Carly Fiorina recently spoke out against government-mandated paid maternity leave. That should ingratiate her to all those secretaries who haven’t quite yet made it to the top like her.
When you peel away the Fiorina layers, you will find just another package of conventional Republican orthodoxy, wrapped around a questionable presidential resume.
Photo | huffingtonpost.com