iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Robert J. Elisberg

Robert J. Elisberg

Posted: June 15, 2010 10:35 AM

Carly Fiorina: A Sheep in Sheep's Clothing

What's Your Reaction:

While I believe that all candidates should be up front and outspoken, given Carly Fiorina's history it might be a good time for her to stop. On Fox News Sunday, she did it yet again.

It was bad.

"Every family and every business in California knows what it means to go through tough times," she began. "And every family is cutting back, and every business is laying off right now."

In fairness, Ms. Fiorina is an expert on cutting back, having cut 30,000 jobs when she was CEO of Hewlett-Packard, many of which were outsourced. However, while she says that "every business is laying off right now," she can't hide behind that "right now" argument of a bad economy, since all of her cuts occurred at least five years ago. That's when she herself was fired.

Still, in a whimsical twist of logic, she uses those job cuts as a badge of honor for dealing with unemployment: "In the course of my time there, we laid off over 30,000 people," she was quoted in Information Week. "That's why I understand where the anger came from."

Well, sure she understands where the anger came from. They were all yelling at her. It was sort of like when the villagers stormed Dr. Frankenstein's laboratory with pitchforks and torches after he created the monster. That was hard to miss.

But that wasn't the bad part of her comments. It gets worse.

Because, after stating that "every business is laying off right now," her very next sentence was:

"I don't say that with delight."

Only Carly Fiorina, who cut 30,000 jobs, could think that anyone would suspect she was saying that "with delight."

But still, that wasn't the bad part. Because it gets worse.

"China fights harder for our jobs than we do," she continued. "Texas fights for our jobs, Nevada fights for our jobs, North Carolina fights for our jobs. We have to start fighting for our jobs in this nation and in our state."

As much as Carly Fiorina might be trying to suggest that tax breaks are all that's needed to fix unemployment, that's disingenuous razzle dazzle. After all, Texas, Nevada and North Carolina might be fighting for our jobs, but they are losing the fight the same as everyone. Because so many of those jobs are going to China and India. And they're not going because of any tax incentives, but because, like when Fiorina herself cut 30,000 jobs and outsourced them overseas, the average wage in China is 60 cents an hour.

And she dares suggest there is unemployment because "China fights harder for our jobs than we do."

But that's not the bad part of her statement either. It gets even worse than that.

"I know how to create jobs," Fiorina kept going, "and I know why they leave."

Well, I know why they leave, too. Because Carly Fiorina fired 30,000 of them. It's not really hard to figure out. And as for her knowing how to create jobs, that's largely true but only if you are referring to job growth in China. And India. What she leaves out is that what she doesn't know is how to build a company -- because under her watch, the value of HP stock plummeted 52%. Before she was fired.

The thing is, Carly Fiorina has a long track record of saying things that are cringeworthy. And getting fired.

Let us not forget, after all, that when she was an advisor to the McCain presidential campaign, she embarrassed the candidate twice and was dropped like a rock.

So, Carly Fiorina's two big supposed credentials for being a U.S. Senator are that she was 1) a CEO and 2) an advisor to a presidential campaign. And she was fired from both.

It's worth noting that the day she was fired by HP, the company stock soared 6.9%.

It's worth noting, too, that after being fired by HP five years ago, no other company has hired her.

In 2004, it was Ms. Fiorina's presentation that kicked off the Computer Systems Policy Project, a consortium of the tech industry. According to The Register, the CSPP goals were "better R&D tax credits, more federal investment in science, and stronger government support for the roll-out of broadband.

All very good goals.

It's just that - well, although Carly Fiorina asked here for more federal investment with taxpayer money and stronger government support of her industry, she complains about that same money being spent on pretty much everyone else:

"The bailout of General Motors and Chrysler didn't work. I mean, we spent a lot of taxpayer money," she said on the Kudlow Report on CNBC last Thursday. And the stimulus bill? "800 billion dollars worth of taxpayer money has done nothing to alleviate the tremendous suffering in the state."

But taxpayer money for her own suffering tech industry? That would be peachy.

That is Carly Fiorina's pattern. Get whatever she can for herself, and everyone else be damned. But then, what else do you expect from someone who cut 30,000 jobs and then takes a $42 million gold parachute for failing?

"Get big government off their backs," she told Kudlow self-righteously -- blissfully ignoring that she yearns achingly for big government when it comes to giving her money.

In the end, for all her greedy disingenuousness, all her 30,000 cutbacks, all her outsourcing, all these times she herself has been fired in her supposed-areas of expertise - all this comes from someone who, according to the San Jose Mercury News, "voted in just six of 14 elections since 2000, skipping the presidential primaries of 2000 and 2004 and sitting out all gubernatorial elections, including the 2003 recall election."

And for all this, she wants to be a United States Senator.

The only specific reason she's given to justify that is because, as she said into an open mic, she believes she has a better haircut than her opponent.

Yet, like most everything out of Carly Fiorina's mouth, even that is questionable.