Monday, May 25, 2015

Fiorina Matters Only in the Bizarro World of GOP Politics

In the bizarro world of Republican politics, a candidate who almost destroyed an iconic American company and was forced out (albeit with a $20 million golden parachute severance package) can be considered a presidential hopeful because she has a tart tongue. Carly Fiorina left Hewlett-Packard tarred and feathered for multiple sins, yet she dazzles on the GOP hustings because she has the wit to voice critical, funny soundbites about Democrats, mostly Hillary Rodham Clinton ( 

My guess is she’s likely to gain traction as a vice presidential standard bearer, a woman much smarter than Sarah Palin. She doesn’t need to see Russia from her house (a phrase Palin never actually said). She’s been there and has even met Vladimir Putin.

But while too many Americans have short memories or are too young to have experienced history (or didn’t learn it in school), it is incumbent upon journalists to enlighten them (sadly, the soon to be departing Jon Stewart of The Daily Show was among the only mass market political watchers who resurrected a pol’s previous utterances and actions. Who will emerge as his truth-be-told successor?).

For those who merely hear that Fiorina was the head of HP, once considered the most powerful woman in business, the first female CEO of a top 20 U.S. company, it would be instructive to also hear that, according to Wikipedia, “CBS News, USA Today and have ranked Fiorina as one of the worst American (or tech) CEOs of all time. In 2008, InfoWorld grouped her with a list of products and ideas as flops, declaring her tenure as CEO of HP to be the sixth worst tech flop of all-time and characterizing her as the ‘anti-Steve Jobs’ for reversing the goodwill of American engineers and alienating existing customers.”

Sure she has her supporters, which means she is a divisive, not an inclusive, personage. It doesn’t help that she laid off 30,000 HP workers during her five and a half year tenure as CEO. 

Also according to Wikipedia, “Fiorina frequently clashed with HPs board of directors, and she faced backlash among HP employees and the tech community for her leading role in the demise of HPs egalitarian ‘The HP Way’ work culture and guiding philosophy, which she felt hindered innovation. Because of changes to HP’s culture, and requests for voluntary pay cuts to prevent layoffs (subsequently followed by the largest layoffs in HP’s history), employee satisfaction surveys at HP—previously among the highest in America—revealed ‘widespread unhappiness’ and distrust, and Fiorina was sometimes booed at company meetings and attacked on HP’s electronic bulletin board.” Hardly a ringing endorsement when running for an office that is supposed to bring all the people together.

Fiorina is not the only Republican who seems to be hiding something. None of the announced and soon-to-announce candidates appears able or willing to articulate what they would do differently in the Middle East. They criticize President Obama but are short on specifics they would embrace to thwart ISIS and stabilize the region.

It reminds me of 1968. Richard Nixon said he had a secret plan to end the Vietnam War, so secret that it cost the U.S. another 21,195 deaths during the next five years that American combat troops served in Vietnam. 

Obama has not been the greatest commander-in-chief. But let’s not forget that it was George W. Bush and his neoconservative advisors, led by Vp Richard Cheney, who bungled the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Let’s also remember that it was under the Republican watch that our economy tanked. Under Obama the country has enjoyed prosperity, though too disproportionally tilted toward the wealthy, which makes it rather amusing that so many of the one percenters favor Republicans. But then again, Republicans live in a bizarro world.