Archive for the ‘Carly Fiorina’ Category

Could New Hampshire become revenge of the Republican governors?

Monday, February 8th, 2016

Originally published at Rare

Last week’s Iowa caucus was dominated by the outsiders, as top finishers Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and Marco Rubio are, at least by most measures, insurgents with less political experience than their competitors. (I’ve argued that Rubio is actually “stealth establishment,” but he nonetheless pushes an outsider image – and pretty persuasively.)

Even Ben Carson and Rand Paul placed top five in the Iowa caucus while Governors Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Chris Christie garnered 2.8 percent, 1.9 percent, and 1.8 percent respectively. Paul has since dropped out of the race, Carson is barely registering in New Hampshire polls, and both Kasich and Bush are, to the shock of many observers, now giving frontrunner Trump a run for his money.

As Kevin Boyd wrote at Rare about Kasich, “The second term Ohio governor and former Congressman has staked everything on New Hampshire and it appears it will pay off with a strong finish…. His crowds have gotten larger in the past few days and have become more energetic.”

Bush is also doing better than expected, with new polls showing him in either second or third place. And while a post-Iowa caucus poll commissioned by CNN released Friday showed Rubio gaining on Trump for second place, this bump hasn’t lasted.

Per CNN, Trump maintained his New Hampshire lead with 29 percent, and Rubio gained, with a second place 18 percent. That appears to be changing however, after a nearly universally negative reception to Rubio’s debate performance on Saturday.

While Rubio’s defenders say his performance was simply a matter of “staying on message,” he came across as almost sickly robotic – and Chris Christie called him out during a moment that undoubtedly hurt Rubio’s image and campaign chances.

“Barack Obama knows exactly what he’s doing,” said Rubio, over, and over, and over again in an attempt to hit the president. In response, Christie pounced, “There it is. There it is. The memorized 25-second speech. There it is, everybody.”

Instead of changing course, Rubio repeated the line. Again. And again. Leading to charges that he’s inexperienced, can’t take the heat, doesn’t have much real policy knowledge, and isn’t ready to take on Hillary Clinton, let alone be president himself.

Said Charles Krauthammer, who has long praised Rubio as a new hope:

“I think, (Rubio’s exchange with Christie) really hurt. And of course, the moment that people are going to be remembering is Rubio…. I think that this is a moment when he could have really put away the field, and he has had a great momentum, and this is likely to put something of a brake on his momentum.”

Kasich and Bush are both banking on a strong performance in New Hampshire to justify continuing their campaigns. Kasich has stated that if he doesn’t do well in the Granite State, he knows there’s no future for him. And Bush insiders are preparing for the possibility of Jeb ending his campaign if he doesn’t counter his poor Iowa showing with strength in New Hampshire.

Luckily for the governors, Republican voters in New Hampshire have a history of independent thinking, and don’t always follow the trends set in Iowa. And although Trump is still the frontrunner in New Hampshire, he underperformed his polling in Iowa, and has done very little retail politicking or ground work in New Hampshire.

Kasich, Bush, and Christie on the other hand, have had their noses to the grindstone, meeting voters and shaking hands, even as New Hampshire faces impending blizzard conditions.

After Iowa, instead of heading to the Granite State, Trump elected to go back to New York City. He made an appearance at a New Hampshire diner over the weekend, but Trump is more suited to his arena rallies and towering rhetoric than one-on-one questions from actual voters.

At the primary approaches, New Hampshire remains a shockingly open race. Kasich, Bush, and even Christie could surprise. Or perhaps Rubio and Cruz, who are nearly tied per recent polls will over-perform. It’s still anyone’s guess, but it’s clear that the governors have a chance to shine in New Hampshire that simply wasn’t provided to them in Iowa.

The latest Republican debate marked the end of the Bush dynasty

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

Originally published at Every Joe

Put a fork in him: Jeb Bush is done. And the death blow was dealt by the man once considered his protégé, the junior Senator from his home state, Marco Rubio. As I wrote last week, Rubio is blessed with raw political talent. He’s authentic, tough when he has to be, yet ultimately positive and forward-thinking. During the latest Republican debate, his savvy was no doubt on full display.

In an exchange that felt forced, Bush attempted to call Rubio out for his Senate absenteeism. “Marco, when you signed up for this, this was a six-year term, and you should be showing up to work,” scolded Jeb. “The Senate, what is it? Like a French workweek? You get three days when you have to show up,” said Bush, attempting to land a blow but coming across as both vindictive and nervous. You could cut the tension of the moment with a knife.

“I don’t remember you ever complaining about John McCain’s vote record,” replied a cool-headed Rubio, referencing the fact that McCain, who was fully supported by Bush, missed more votes than he has during his presidential candidacy.

“The only reason you’re doing it now is because we’re running for the same position and someone has convinced you that it’s going to help you,” said Rubio, laying bare what was already obvious: That Bush’s consultants told him to go for Rubio’s throat, he followed through, but it felt grossly inauthentic – and everybody, Bush included, knew it.

“My campaign is going to be about the future of America; it’s not going to be about attacking anyone else on the stage,” concluded Rubio, adding that he continues to have tremendous respect for Bush – ending the exchange on the type of positive note that captures Rubio’s style.

For Bush, there was no coming back from that moment. He behaved like the wounded man he was, incapable of exhibiting the commanding leadership voters seek in a president. Rubio spoke with the authority Bush’s bundlers always hoped the Serious Man with his Serious Record would exude; yet Jeb! has consistently missed the mark.

As Politico reported in the wake of the debate, many of his biggest supporters are frustrated.

Explained one of Bush’s donors: “Going after Rubio that way was just a mistake. No one cares about missed f–king votes in the Senate. Washington cares about that. The media cares about that. And losing candidates care about that. Jeb sounded like he was losing. And Marco made him pay.” Another irked Bush supporter said, “Marco is a [expletive] Jedi master. Hopefully these idiots learn not to [expletive] with him anymore. Not necessary.”

While Rubio had what was arguably the night’s best overall performance, Ted Cruz had a major breakout moment himself. A moment that, particularly to many people familiar with his Senate campaign, was an introduction to a more authentic Ted; a contrast to the canned and calculated version that voters who only know him through his presidential run have been subjected to.

In a statement that prolific pollster Frank Luntz said scored the highest out of any he’s ever seen in the countless focus groups he’s run, Cruz called out CNBC’s moderators for obvious bias in a brilliant fashion that resonated with the GOP base. One by one, he recited each loaded question the moderators had asked the candidates, in order, and pointed out how the bias was obvious.

“The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media,” said Cruz. He then went on to contrast CNBC’s loaded questions with what he described as “fawning” inquiries made to the Democratic candidates in their recent debate hosted by CNN. He then said, to laughs from the audience, that the Democratic debate looked as though it was an exchange “between the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.”

While Rubio and Cruz performed the best, other candidates had moments in the sun as well. Carly Fiorina, who has been roundly praised for her past debate performances, had some good one-liners, but didn’t stand out as much as she needs to in order to be a sustainable frontrunner. She remains a sharp messenger, who deployed what I considered to be a perfect explanation of how big government and big corporations work together at the expense of small businesses and the middle class.

“Crony capitalism is what happens when government gets so big and so powerful that only the big and the powerful can handle it,” explained Fiorina. “When government gets big and powerful, the big feel like they need to get even bigger to deal with all that power, and meanwhile, the small and the powerless — in this case, 1,590 community banks — go out of business,” she added, aptly demonstrating how government creates problems then attempts to “solve them,” leading to the type of socialism that tanks economies.

Ultimately, despite her talents, it’s difficult to make the case for Carly as Commander in Chief. It increasingly seems as though she’s running for Vice President, which might just be the ideal slot for her. With a gifted female communicator like Carly on the ticket, Republicans will be able to better weather some of the inevitable “War on Women” attacks Hillary will ultimately use against the eventual nominee.

Rand Paul, the resident libertarian Republican, had a good moment when he explained how the Federal Reserve exacerbates the income inequality Democrats claim to oppose so strongly. But he was given the least amount of time, didn’t jump in during moments he could have landed a blow, and simply continues to struggle in debate settings. Rand, whom I admire greatly, is cerebral. He performs better on the Senate floor, filibustering budget deals and surveillance schemes, than he does in settings conducive to soundbites.

Christie and Kasich both played the role of Governors with tangible records to run on who aren’t Jeb Bush, and Christie’s personality shined. But neither seem to be gaining traction with voters. People looking for Washington outsiders still appear to be more fascinated with Trump and Carson than the governors, while Cruz, Rubio, and Paul all make good choices too, given their tea party election pedigrees.

As for Trump, he seems to have calmed down somewhat underneath the waning glow of his fading star. Carson is now beating him in Iowa and even in some national polls, and the case for Trump is increasingly difficult to make as undecided voters start looking for more substance. This is why I ultimately think Carson, who offers little in the way of policy knowledge, will fade too, with voters turning to the two men I believe will come to lead the field: Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

It’s too early to know for certain, but both Rubio and Cruz seem to be peaking at the right time. Cruz arguably has a stronger ground game than Rubio, but Rubio is better suited to become the establishment’s compromise choice. After all, recent reports show that President Bush, whom Ted worked for nearly two decades ago, isn’t a particularly big fan of him.

Ultimately, Cruz will lead with hardcore grassroots voters, and he’s counting on earning the support of those who have flirted with Trump and Carson. But the establishment tends to prevail to at least some extent, and Rubio, as I noted recently, is the perfect stealth-establishment, consensus candidate.

Expect the ultimate battle to be between Rubio and Cruz – which will be fascinating seeing as they’re both first term Senators. That certainly takes the wind out of the Republican refrain of old about Obama’s inexperience. But today’s political climate simply isn’t favorable to the Old Guard; a large part of why this debate marked the end of the Bush dynasty.

Carly Fiorina’s emotional testimony invokes broader questions about the marijuana debate

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

Originally published at Rare

In the second Republican debate where tensions ran high, Carly Fiorina had what was arguably, the rawest emotional moment of the night.

When the topic of marijuana came up, she broke out of her usual assertiveness and added a deeply personal touch to the discussion.

“I very much hope that I’m the only person on the stage that can say this,” remarked a somber Fiorina. “My husband Frank and I buried a child to drug addiction,” she said, her grief evident. Adding that due to personal experience, she agreed with Rand Paul who said there ought to be a focus on rehabilitative measures rather than incarceration, and that she believes should be allowed to make their own marijuana laws.

Fiorina added, however:

“We are misleading young people when we tell them that marijuana is just like having a beer. It’s not. And the marijuana that kids are smoking today is not the same as the marijuana that Jeb Bush smoked 40 years ago.”


She’s right that marijuana and alcohol are different, and it’s true that there are risks involved with consuming both of them.

But the fact is, marijuana is measurably less dangerous than many legal drugs. As Fiorina wrote in her book Rising to the Challenge, her stepdaughter Lori passed away after struggling with an alcohol and prescription pill addiction that was coupled with bulimia.

The scenario is tragic, and as Fiorina said during the debate, one that too many families in America face.

Yet this leads to a broader question when marijuana is invoked: Just how dangerous is that drug? And for what purposes should it remain illegal? Particularly illegal to the extent that young people, especially the least well-off, are thrown in jail, their lives ruined over it?

As the Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham wrote:

“The point (Fiorina) was trying to make was that marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol. She says that today’s marijuana is a lot stronger than the marijuana her generation grew up with, and links marijuana use to addiction to other, far more dangerous drugs, like the ones that cost her stepdaughter her life.

Linking marijuana to more dangerous drugs is a version of the “gateway hypothesis” — that pot use inevitably leads to experimentation with more dangerous drugs. But the evidence does not support this claim. It’s true that many people who use hard drugs like heroin and cocaine have tried marijuana in the past. But the overwhelming majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to try other drugs.”

These are crucial points to examine if the goal is to think rationally about criminal justice reform. For too long, policymakers have taken a dogmatic approach to the war on drugs, assuming that a militarized battle against drug use is the answer to a problem often fueled by addiction and poverty. While it’s a good sign that on a bipartisan basis, politicians are increasingly focused on rehabilitation rather than jailing, myths about drug use, particularly marijuana, abound in ways that often cloud rational discussion.

As Ingraham also noted, a Lancet study conducted in 2010 demonstrates that marijuana is generally less harmful to individuals and society than alcohol. He further cites countless statistics showing that marijuana users are, relatively speaking, not a danger to themselves and others. Given the wide availability of this information and the fact that public attitudes about marijuana have changed vastly to the point where a majority support legalization, there’s no doubt that policy in this area will continue to change.

Even Fiorina and Bush, who disagree with marijuana use, have conceded that states have the right to set their own policies. Paul and Cruz also share that perspective.

Today, the question isn’t whether marijuana will continue on its path to legality, but how it will be regulated. It’s the politicians who need to play catch-up and ready themselves for the challenge.

Carly Fiorina shows Donald Trump her true face in this inspiring new ad

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Originally published at Rare

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Donald Trump stooped to a shallow level that, unfortunately, is characteristic of his behavior. Regarding Carly Fiorina, who has shot up in the polls far enough to be on the next debate’s main stage, Trump said, “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?! …I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not supposed to say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”

Fiorina, who’s been praised by pundits and grassroots conservatives alike for her keen messaging abilities, quickly turned Trump’s insult around in the classiest way imaginable. “This is the face of a 61 year old woman. I am proud of every year and every wrinkle,” she said.

Now, a Super PAC supporting Fiorina called “Carly for America” has turned that statement into an inspiring ad.

FacesWATCH the new video, in which Carly Fiorina lets people know “This is the face of a 61 year old woman. I am proud of every year and every wrinkle.”

Posted by CARLY for America on Monday, September 14, 2015

This video is effective, because it rises above Trump’s nastiness and focuses on an inclusive message of female empowerment—all while hitting Democrats for needlessly treating women as a “special interest group” when we’re, in fact, the majority.

Fiorina has done an excellent job of illustrating that feminism shouldn’t belong to one political ideology or another, and is a refreshing contrast to Hillary Clinton, who continues to drop in Democratic polls.

As Fiorina explained when she was a guest on The View:

I believe that a feminist is any woman who lives the life she chooses. I make no value judgements on the kind of life a woman lives as long as she chooses her life and somebody isn’t choosing it for or, or she’s being denied something because of her gender. But I do think that when women stand up, for example, and call my candidacy offensive to women, that’s about ideology. It’s about the fact that they don’t agree with me.

That kind of a message is appealing not just to conservative women, but also those who are more moderate and even apolitical. Fiorina’s inspiring and inclusive manner of speaking has undoubtedly been part of what has led to her recent rise.

As Fiorina said on MSNBC on the same topic, “I’m tired of women who are conservative like me being dismissed by others because we don’t agree with them, and I think it’s time to take that word [feminism] back for all women, not just those who believe in the litany of the left.”

Surely, there are countless women and men alike who agree with that sentiment, many of whom are looking forward to seeing Fiorina on the main Republican debate stage this week. Whether Fiorina continues to rise will largely hinge on her performance. So far, the more exposure she has, the better she’s done.

Many Iowa Republicans support Trump’s plan to deport—but that doesn’t mean he’ll win

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

Originally published at Rare

A recent poll of 400 likely Republican caucus participants in Iowa has found near-majority support for Trump’s call to deport the 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the United States.

According to the poll, commissioned by Bloomberg Politics and the Des Moines Register, 47 percent of potential caucus-goers see his position in this area as an asset, while 37 percent think his policy plan won’t work. Additionally, 88 percent believe he holds a strong stance on international trade, and 84 percent believe he will help create middle-class jobs.

While these voters support Trump’s positions, it remains unclear whether he will ultimately be their candidate of choice. As Lauren Luxenburg, an account executive at WPA Research, recently wrote at IJ Review, a lot of the attention surrounding Trump has been manufactured by media hype rather than the realities of polling trends.

Luxenburg cited the failed campaigns of past frontrunners who were polling in ranges close to Trump’s current numbers early in the primary process. Remember Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain? Bachmann was polling at 24 percent in June of 2011, and Cain shot up to 20 percent shortly thereafter. Rudy Giuliani was similarly positioned in the summer of 2007.

Rick Perry may have what appears to be a floundering campaign this time around, but when he announced in 2011, he moved to the top of the pack at 29 percent by August, only to fall rapidly. At that point, eventual nominee Mitt Romney only registered at 17 percent.

Even President Obama was running 15 points behind Hillary Clinton in early polls.

As Luxenberg said, “It is clear that polling leads in a crowded field don’t indicate much, so why are we allowing hostile-to-Republican media to position them as meaningful?” It’s certainly a valid question for conservative voters to consider.

Trump, with his built-in celebrity status and bombastic ways, certainly knows how to drive a media narrative. But this doesn’t mean he’s the inevitable face of the GOP, even if many voters in a key primary state say that they agree with his positions. There’s still a lot of time for voters to learn the nuances of his policies, especially relative to other candidates.

Trump has already seen a decline in his standing nationally, with a nine-point drop after the first debate, according to a Rasmussen poll. There’s still ample time for other candidates to rise. One such possibility is Carly Fiorina, who has shot to third place in key states according to recent polling, and has secured a spot for herself on the stage of the next debate.

If Trump falters and fades, someone who’s barely registering in the polls currently, could fill his shoes. The Republican presidential primary is still anyone’s game to win.