WASHINGTON, April 28, 2016 – After Donald Trump seized the momentum in the Republican presidential race, Texas Senator Ted Cruz took a drastic step to reclaim the news cycle. With the critical Indiana primary only days away, Cruz went big and bold. Rather than wait until the July GOP Convention in Cleveland, Cruz immediately announced his choice for Vice President. He went with former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.
Cruz is the right man for the presidency. Fiorina is the wrong choice for the number two spot on the ticket.
There are a few things to like about Fiorina. On foreign policy, she is right on the issues. She has a clear understanding of how to deal with radical Islam and Russia’s Vladimir Putin. She knows the technology industry better than anyone who has ever run for office. On economic matters, foreign policy and social issues, she fits squarely within the mainstream of the conservative Republican movement. She cannot credibly be accused of being too liberal or a right-wing nut.
Her attacks on former Secretary of state Hillary Clinton are valid and accurate. Her criticisms blow a hole in the myth that Clinton is experienced, qualified, trustworthy, or sober in her judgment. She brings crowds to their feet by noting that Clinton has never had a successful policy accomplishment in four decades of failed attempts.
The problem with Fiorina is that the negatives far outweighs the positives. Every criticism Fiorina throws at Clinton also applies to Fiorina.
Fiorina has never had a political success. Even in liberal California, Senator Barbara Boxer should have been toast in 2010. The GOP won a nationwide landslide except in California. Fiorina cited her gender as a factor that would let her take down Boxer. Instead, Boxer easily trounced her. In 2008, Fiorina was an economic adviser to Arizona Senator John McCain. Her unforced errors led to her being relegated to the sideline in the 2008 presidential race. McCain’s loss was not her fault, but she did not bring anything helpful.
While she did rise from a receptionist position to the top of HP, her tenure as CEO was a failure. She has blamed sexism for her ouster, which is normally what a liberal would do. She also blamed the burst of the dot com bubble, but the timeline of her tenure proves otherwise. The merger with Compaq was a disaster. While HP’s competitors increased shareholder wealth, she destroyed it.
The GOP is now making the exact same mistakes Democrats do. Democrats were desperate for a black president, so they chose an inferior lightweight based on his skin color. They are now willing to socially promote a woman hanging under a cloud of indictment solely because of her gender. Republicans are supposed to choose their people based on merit. The GOP is now so desperate for a woman on the ticket that they will put any woman on the ticket. There are so many women who would be better choices than Fiorina.
Meg Whitman was a far more successful CEO. South Carolina’s Nikki Haley is a successful Governor. So is New Mexico’s Susanna Martinez. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin is magnificent.
The Republican Party has many people who are bigger rock stars than Fiorina if that is a criteria. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is a hero to conservatives. Florida Senator Marco Rubio offers a compelling narrative for the future. Colonel Allen West is a military hero. South Carolina also offers the great Senator Tim Scott and the equally beloved Congressman Trey Gowdy.
These men have shown they can take political punches and deliver them back twice as hard and effectively. Fiorina would get carved up by the liberal media just as former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and former Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann were.
Fiorina’s tenure at Hewlett Packard would be sliced and diced just as former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital was. The same liberal operatives who convinced the public that Romney was a vulture capitalist against Romney will savage Fiorina. Unlike Romney, in Fiorina’s case she is guilty. She did fire tons of employees without delivering results.
Perception is reality, and Fiorina has never satisfactorily explained why was fired or why she fired so many others without fixing the company. She has never explained how the company rebounded only after she was ousted.
The vice presidential candidate rarely ever makes a difference. Dan Quayle was crucified mercilessly, but he did not prevent the Republican ticket from winning in 1988. He was not the cause of the 1992 reelection loss. Lloyd Bentsen was considered a fantastic selection in 1988, but his gravitas could not help Democrats from getting trounced.
While Fiorina is far better than Hillary, the idea of these women far surpasses these particular ladies in actuality. Fiorina received plenty of praise for her 2016 debate performances. When actual votes came in, she received approximately 1.5% of the vote. In 2010, She was soundly rejected in California. In 2016, 98.5% of GOP voters nationally preferred other Republican candidates.
Fiorina is far from the best option Cruz could have gone with. However, the first role of any vice presidential nominee is to do no harm. Cruz can handle and take care of himself. He can debate anybody and win. Arguing before the Supreme Court prepared him well. If all Fiorina has to do is attack Hillary Clinton, she should be able to handle that task. If she can withstand the withering Clinton attacks coming her way, then she will be doing more than avoiding harm. She will have been a better than expected choice for the vice presidency.