For a brief, shining moment, Carly Fiorina was all over the media after announcing her candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. That’s probably because she made a point of turning her presidential bid into “this weird girl fight” with Clinton, as CNN’s Carol Costello put it.
Then Ben Carson’s campaign launch sucked up all the oxygen left in the day’s media bubble, and Fiorina disappeared from the headlines in much the same way she’s destined to disappear from the presidential race. In the meantime, here are a few things you should know about Carly Fiorina while she’s still relevant.
Carly Fiorina Is No Match For Hillary Clinton (Or Anyone Else)
Hillary Clinton isn’t running against Carly Fiorina, but Fiorina is definitely running against Clinton. It makes sense, because Fiorina is already as close as she’ll ever get to facing off with Clinton. Last week, Fiorina spoke of neutralizing Clinton’s “gender card.” “If Hillary Clinton were to face a female nominee, there are a whole set of things that she won’t be able to talk about,” Fiorina said in an interview with The Christian Science Monitor, “She won’t be able to play the gender card.”
If Fiornia is the only other woman in the race, Hillary Clinton won’t be facing a female nominee in the general election. Apparently, Fiorina things that the “gender card” is the only thing Clinton has going for her. During an appearance on “Morning Joe” earlier this month, Fiorina said that Clinton has been “an inspiration for many women,” but “lacks accomplishment.” Interviewer Mika Brzezinski made it clear to Fiorina that she’s not even close to playing on the same field as Clinton, or any other potential Democratic candidate.
Fiorina will never face off against Clinton. She won’t even get close. Though they would probably be fun to watch, there will be no Clinton/Fiorina debates.
Fiorina Is A Failed Silicon Valley CEO
Carly Fiorina is a textbook example of why being a CEO is not an automatic qualification for holding public office. Fiorina is running on her resume. Specifically, she’s touting her business experience as CEO of Hewlett-Packard (HP) as the main reason why she should be elected. “I’m very proud of our record. We went from a market laggard to market leader. Unlike Hillary, I have actually accomplished something,” Fiorina likes to say. (See above for comparison of “accomplishments.”
So what was Fiorina’s track record at HP? Fiorina was CEO of Hewlett-Packard from July 1999 to February 2005. The company was lagging when Fiorina was hired. While it’s likely no one could have saved HP from decline, Fiorina’s efforts failed to impress. A top HP executive who joined HP shortly after Fiorina told Yahoo Finance, “She was polarizing [and] disenfranchising.” One top tech CEO said: “She was a value destruction machine with near zero cultural sensitivity. … Carly self excused the barrage of criticism by saying it all came with her necessary role as a change agent. … The [Silicon] Valley opinion was universally and viscerally negative. I literally don’t know a single person who thinks she was great and unfairly treated.”
Was HP better off when Fiorina left? In a word, no. Fiorina’s big bet to save the company, a $25 billion takeover of rival PC maker Compaq, was a disaster. (Detailed in the epic 2005 Fortune cover story, “Why Carly’s Big Bet Is Failing.” By the time HP’s Board of Directors fired Fiorina, the company had lost half its market value, and suffered heavy job losses.
The only area in which Fiorina seemed to have excelled as CEO was self-promotion. HP’s former corporate communications director Roy Verley accused Fiorina of fostering a “cult of Carly” that was all about self-promotion. “She didn’t know what she was doing and couldn’t deliver on her promises,” Verley said. Jason Burnett, grandson of the late HP co-founder David Packard, said: “She put herself ahead of the interests of the company and I fear she would do the same as president. I don’t want her to do harm to this country.”
Carly Fiorina Can’t Even Manage To Purchase Her Own Domain Name
Those massive job losses during her tenure at HP have come back to haunt Fiorina in a way she could have easily avoided, had she not made a mistake even the greenest political rookie wouldn’t make today. It’s the kind of thing that’s probably taught on the first day of Political Campaigns 101: purchase every domain name you think might be associated with your campaign or candidate, before somebody else does. At a minimum, you should lock down your .com, .org, and .net domains. It’s something anyone in the public eye should probably do. (Ask Taylor Swift.)
When she announced her candidacy on “Good Morning America,” Fiorina told George Stephanopoulos that she should be president because she “understands technology.” So how did Fiorina fail to purchase, or direct someone, anyone on her team to purchase carlyfiorina.org? Someone else did.
Carly Fiorina Produced One of The Most Surreal Fearmongering Ads Ever
It’s almost a shame that Fiorina’s campaign probably won’t survive the primaries. It would almost be worth enduring her candidacy, just for the ads her campaign would probably produce. But lightening doesn’t often strike in the same place twice. So, it’s unlikely Fiorina would give us an ad to match the “demon sheep” TV spot from her 2010 senate campaign.