Carly Fiorina is the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard. She was fired from that job in what she describes as a “board room brawl.” When she was forced out, the stock in the company went up 7%. It had previously dropped by nearly half during her tenure. Carly Fiorina is the former candidate for the US Senate in the state of California. Despite Sara Palin trying to help Fiorina win, she lost by 10% of the vote.
Carly Fiorina has been described as one of the worst high level executives of all time. It has been shown that before getting into politics, according to the Los Angeles Times in a report Fiorina herself said was true , she rarely voted in elections. She was apparently too busy being CEO in a tenure that caused her to be listed with America's worst CEOs by CBS. So one might think that having lost in politics, having been fired from business, she might just drop out of the public sphere altogether.
But no, Fiorina, still showing the tenacity that allowed her to work her way up the corporate ladder to become the first woman in history to lead a top-20 company isn’t letting anything stop her. She is running for president.
Some people don’t want to take her seriously, and indeed, her record of difficult circumstances, which some claim were made worse by poor leadership on her part, including the fact that about 30,000 people were laid off from Hewlett-Packard during her tenure will be major hurdles. However, presidents have overcome difficult or less than glamorous pasts before, most notably perhaps Abraham Lincoln, another man who had a difficult business past, and was himself a failed senate candidate, went on to become one of the most loved and most important presidents America has ever had.
Fiorina on the other hand, interprets her tenure differently. She is open about being fired. But says that things happen. She also says that when anyone is fired at the top of a company, stocks begin to move. She defends herself by talking about the good things her company did, including the level of ingenuity, including eleven patents a day. As for the 30,000 layoffs, Fiorina says that she had to lay off some to keep the company alive.
Not only are the numbers bad for her on in the race for the Republican nomination, where, despite being the only woman in the field she consistently polls very far beneath the top several candidates. Having never held political office before is also a historical difficulty. No one has won the White House without holding office since Dwight Eisenhower.
Which means the only thing she will be able to fall back on, at this point, will probably be Hillary-bashing, the favorite sport of Republicans at the moment, and a litany of'I had a job, unlike all these young senators who went straight into politics.' (Fiorina is 60 years of age.)
As for what Fiorina believes, or what she will actually do if elected, well, the specifics on that will have to wait until its convenient for her to tell us. Although many may attack her for the lack of actual promises with numbers and data, specifics are always something lacking in any campaign. Politicians don't give to many in attempts to keep everyone happy.
Its hard to imagine a scenario in which the historically strong, diverse, and conservative field of 2016 candidates, with their strong support from younger voters, as well as the excitement that has drafted some, including Ben Carson, from private life into running, would break down so badly that Fiorina, another candidate beneath whom there is no groundswell, would be able to win.
For Fiorina, there is some daylight. As the only woman in the Republican field at the moment, she will garner headlines. But those headlines won't all be good, and for Fiorina, she is fighting a war on too many fronts.
Andrew C. Abbott