Left Coast Letter

Democratic thoughts, Republican nightmares

Fox News Sunday: Chris Wallace Interviews Carly Fiorina

If Fox is our most conservative news outlet, you’d have a hard time telling that from the transcript of today’s Chris Wallace interview of Carly Fiorina.

Chris’ first question to Carly?  Hairgate!  What about it, have you called Senator Boxer to apologize (no answer, so we can assume no), and Chris’ statement:

…you’ve been called a mean girl, catty, tart, and unpleasant.  How do you plead?

Carly talked over the interviewer, said she regretted ‘Hairgate,’ and talked about jobs and the economy as being important topics in this election cycle.

My favorite part?  Here it comes…Wallace says:

WALLACE: But, Ms. Fiorina, if the issue is jobs, Senator Boxer says your record is what you did as the head of Hewlett-Packard. And the record shows, according to her — and it’s not just her; the facts are that during that time you laid off more than 30,000 American workers, and many of those jobs went to India and China.

And there we have it.  Voters probably don’t care much about HP’s cash flow, increasing the rate of innovation to 11 patents a day, or growing the company to $88 billion.

All that growth while cutting 30,000 jobs is the real corporate message.  The benefit went to shareholders, Board members and upper management – not to the workers and the communities where HP resides.

Not the kind of work that will help eliminate the 12%+ California unemployment figure.

I don’t like reading interview transcripts that demonstrate the interviewee’s inability to have a conversation with the interviewer.  Granted, the time involved was short, but Carly doesn’t converse.  Instead, she spews message points.

That’s not thinking.  It’s being a robot mouthing bullet points – and it’s not what California needs.

The entire transcript with Chris Wallace on Fox is here – take a look.

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Carly’s Girl Sarah – She Knows Her Stuff, You Betcha!

LA Times: Boxer and Fiorina Duke it Out Over Abortion

Another disturbing Carly trend – she seems unclear on the concept of personal vs. public positions.

The two candidates are miles apart on the subject of abortion.  I was shocked to find out that Carly actually wants to overturn Roe v. Wade.  This from the former CEO of HP who supposedly supported diversity during her tenure.  What a setback of huge proportions for our reproductive rights and for women’s health care if her view prevailed!

But there’s a deeper problem revealed by Carly’s position – it’s not what the people of California want.

We live in a democracy.  A corporation is not a democracy.  Carly’s position smacks of oligarchy – as defined by Wikipedia, oligarchy is

a form of government in which power effectively rests with a small segment of society distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, military control, or religious hegemony.

Why do I think there’s a deeper problem?  Because a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found that two-thirds of Californians said they opposed overturning Roe vs. Wade.  This isn’t just a simple majority.  It’s the same clear, compelling majority we currently require to pass the California state budget.

I can see where a former CEO of a Fortune 500 company would feel entitled to press her position on voters.  But only 28% of the independent voters she needs to get elected to Senator Boxer’s seat agree with her.

When Boxer commented that Carly’s position would result in women and physicians being jailed and journalists asked Carly about it, she refused to give a direct answer.

Spin really doesn’t work – just ask BP CEO Tony Hayward.

Here’s the piece by Maeve Reston of the LA Times.

WA Post: Carly Stands by Hairgate

S0 now we’ve got Hairgate.

In a world of huge economic challenges, Carly Fiorina chooses to focus on hair (not hers).

I somehow expected more.  As one of many PR directors at an agency that served HP during Carly’s tenure, she appeared to have a great deal of experience and know-how regarding working in public.

She received hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of media training and consultation from the best PR people in the business during her tenure as CEO. Carly was briefed, primed, pumped, primped and informed on every detail.  We regularly received calls from speech writers stating that she wanted more info on this or that.

‘Citizen Carly’ who’s ‘just folks’ doesn’t exist – she went pro a long, long time ago.  In short, this isn’t her first time at the rodeo.

So why can’t Carly make it to the 8-second buzzer?  Why the Hairgate epic fail?

Some executives don’t listen.  Some are tied up in their own image.  But the real killer?  CEOs who hire bad advisers, then listen to them.  That’s what I saw happen at HP.

We Californians can’t afford to have it happen in the U.S. Senate.

Hairgate is just another indicator that Fiorina is not yet ready for prime time.

Another article has been written on it…read David Weigel’s piece in The Washington Post.

LA Times: Carly so Scripted, Voters Yearn for Authenticity

The LA Times took note of Fiorina’s trash talk this week about Barbara Boxer’s hair during her open-mike error:

Perhaps, but it seems more illustrative of a yearning among journalists — and voters — for moments of authenticity that have become so rare in politics. Driven by money and advertising, campaigns today are scripted and candidates guarded. Office seekers avoid spontaneous contact with constituents; they are shielded by police tape, velvet ropes, handlers and security guards. They stay relentlessly “on message” and, in the process, aloof.

Fiorina’s persona while office-seeking is very much a match with her HP CEO days.  Control, play keep away, spin.

Read the entire LA Times editorial…their take?

… candidates who use their resources to shield themselves from scrutiny, those who rely on television ads and avoid the risks of spontaneity, are those who create the greatest craving for authenticity. Candidates such as Fiorina.

Day 1: Trouble in Carlyville

10 hours.

That was all it took for Carly Fiorina to decide to mouth off in front of an open mike, dissing CA GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman for choosing to be interviewed by Sean Hannity (whoa – Carly thinks he’s a tough interviewer!), then bad mouthing Barbara Boxer’s hair.

Really.

This is such a high level of political thought, I’m still in shock. Guess she has less than total recall of others sunk by open mike mouth….Ronald Reagan’s “We begin bombing in five minutes…” is just one example.

Our country is engaged in two wars, we have terrible economic problems, unemployment is far too high, and the VA has been caught burning medical records of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans so they can avoid the expense of giving them proper medical care for post-traumatic stress and other brain injuries.

Eva Gabor on a Green Acres rerun has more political heart and savvy.  Maybe Carly should just run for mayor of Hooterville.

NYT: Sidney Lumet’s ‘Network’

In 1976, Lumet assailed us with a visionary film that won numerous awards, starred the brilliant Faye Dunaway in what I think is her most powerful role.  It showed what America was headed toward.

With voter anger showing up everywhere, this is a good time to review Network and think about whether people will move to action or just complain.

The NYT calls it a satire – I call it all too real.