AlterNet asked me to heckle ex-HP CEO and itinerant ideologist Carly Fiorina before the November election, in hopes of shedding some light on why should we make California suck even more than it does with Arnold Schwarzenegger at the helm. But it wasn’t that hard, because she’s the opposite kind of everything the Golden State actually wants.
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.”