Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 22, 2010

ONE OF THE MOST EFFECTIVE ADS OF THE CYCLE.... In a year filled with odd statewide candidates, I still have a hard time figuring out what California's Carly Fiorina is thinking.

The Republican Senate nominee is best known for her tenure as HP's chief executive, during which the company lost more than half its value; Fiorina laid off tens of thousands of workers; and she was named one of Conde Nast Portfolio's "20 Worst American CEOs of All Time." With this background in mind, Fiorina has decided to try to parlay failure into a U.S. Senate victory.

Kevin Drum flagged this ad from Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) this week, noting that his household focus group found it "pretty devastating." I'm very much inclined to agree.

The spot shows Fiorina boasting about having laid off 30,000 workers, and sending jobs to China. All the while, Fiorina tripled her own salary, and bought a million-dollar yacht and five corporate jets. And unlike so many critical ads this year, Boxer's spot actually stands up well to fact-checking scrutiny.

I realize it's looking like a Republican year, and voters in California are deeply frustrated with the weak economy, but a campaign ad like this one -- to my mind, one of the most effective of the cycle -- seems hard to overcome.

Oliver Willis, noting the same ad, added, "I still have a hard time with the idea that people don't just laugh Fiorina out of the room."

Steve Benen 10:05 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (27)

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Comments

This is a pretty solid rule of thumb:
*Democrats who f*ck up, fall down...
*Republicans who f*ck up, fail UP!

And if she outsourced 50,000+ jobs, she'd be running for President.
Oh, wait, if she wins CA, she just might. Especially if she f*cks up CA even more than it already is.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on September 22, 2010 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

Very good. Democratic candidates: do NOT be afraid to tell the truth about your opponents -- it ain't your fault it's ugly. If he's a racist, call him a racist, if she's a nutjob, call her a nutjob. The only people who will complain are the ones who'd never vote for you anyway.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on September 22, 2010 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Fiorina Response Ad:

Sure I outsourced 30,000 jobs but, when I bought my yacht and 5 jets I put real Americans to work. The million dollars I spent on the yacht trickled-down to dozens of workers.

So you see, it balances out.

Posted by: Winkandanod on September 22, 2010 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

It isn't that the democrats in Congress are to blame so much as we need more democrats in Congress. We must reinforce this message to those who don't understand the coordinated damage the GOP has done in the Senate.

Posted by: Sparko on September 22, 2010 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Yep. And she's campaigning on the idea that she knows how to create jobs. I just keep thinking, "Yes, Carly Fiorina does know how to create jobs--in China!"

As a Californian I'm having a hard time deciding whether Fiorina or Meg Whitman is more appalling.

Posted by: Stephen Stralka on September 22, 2010 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, indeed, Carly is ever sooo adored in both Oregon and Clark County, Washington, where many of those layoffs happened. Carly reminds me of a "Seinfeld" episode, where the character played by Judge Reinhold, keeps telling Jerry's parents, "But, I could have done so much more". Yes, Carly, had you remained at H-P, you could have fired ever soooo many more. Might have helped you buy a bigger yacht.

Posted by: berttheclock on September 22, 2010 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

It's a combination of being pathologically self-centered and operating in a bubble. Fiorina, Whitman and too many other bored uber-wealthy types think that a Senate seat is the next logical thing on the resume: If they want it, they should have it, and they don't even stop to think that voters may have another opinion or that their professional records may not lend credibility to their candidacies.

And because they surround themselves with people who validate their comically excessive self-regard and never bring up their past epic failures and/or lack of relevant experience, they never really figure it out until they get slaughtered at the polls. Even then, they no doubt blame everyone but themselves.

Posted by: shortstop on September 22, 2010 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

About F888ing time. Dems need to do this - all over the place...

Posted by: bigtuna on September 22, 2010 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

Personally, I need to take a break from this election cycle before I begin to feel I'm trapped in a Door's song!

Surreal - one appropriate term to put upon an election cycle where because of the mess of the recent past, every candidate must reinvent him/herself, and claim they had nothing to do with the Bush years, save the "good ol' tax cuts" that nonetheless are primarily responsible for our sick economy today!

WTF American electorate! Are you so inept, so naive, so utterly unassuming that you think the Republican brand can offer us anything except the agony and tragedy they all ready have? -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on September 22, 2010 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Boxer should come down here to Houston, home of Compaq, and ask the red staters what they think of Fiorina. She collapsed the whole area around the Compaq compound, unemployment skyrocketed and house values plummeted because of her management prowess.

It's since recovered somewhat, but her name is mud in these parts, even with the most die hard republicans.

Posted by: ScottW714 on September 22, 2010 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

What a choice. Outsource Carly or B-1 Barbara.

Sometimes I just want to use my ballot as catbox liner.

Posted by: Steve on September 22, 2010 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

My guess: these 'revelations' about Fiorina- which anyone familiar w/her tenure @ HP/Compaq already knew- help her to unseat Boxer.

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on September 22, 2010 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

I can see Meg Whitman as a credible candidate - eBay became quite successful under her guidance. But Fiorina! Maybe it's because I'm in Silicon Valley, but she is not well-liked or respected as a businessperson here, even by conservatives.

Posted by: Cool Bev on September 22, 2010 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

@Steve: It's people like you who take their ennui so far as to NOT vote that were responsible for Bush the Lesser getting elected. Hold your nose and vote for Barbara. I'm certainly going to hold mine and vote for Jerry Brown.

Posted by: Mouse Brain on September 22, 2010 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Cool Bev - that online pawn shop! What an accomplishment for good ol'Meg. Got word from an underling of hers - she may have used intrigue to claim credit for the online pawn shop!

Meg Whitman, if she truly cared for the citizens of California, should have donated 1/2 of the fortune she has personally spent on the campaign to worthy causes like public education or fixing those pot holes on my street! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on September 22, 2010 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

I can see Meg Whitman as a credible candidate - eBay became quite successful under her guidance.

Except when it didn't--for example, the Skype fiasco.

Posted by: Frank on September 22, 2010 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

In a similar vain Robin Carnahan is up with some really brutal ads calling Roy Blunt saying that he the worst of Washington or that he "is Washington."

By the way the Missouri Senate race has gone red hot. The airways are filled with ads. Karl Roves billionaires are spending like, well, billionaires.

The Blunt attack ads are all pretty pedestrian trying to tie Carnahan to Obama, but the Carnahan ads are brutal. Fox News even threatened to sue over one using Chris Wallace footage. It is almost like she is running as the tea party insurgent.

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 22, 2010 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Somewhat off topic - It's a great ad, but I wish they would find some other music than that standard piano plinking in a minor key. Otherwise, great ad. :)

Posted by: bdop4 on September 22, 2010 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

The Republican Senate nominee is best known for her tenure as HP's chief executive, during which the company lost more than half its value; Fiorina laid off tens of thousands of workers; and she was named one of Conde Nast Portfolio's "20 Worst American CEOs of All Time." With this background in mind, Fiorina has decided to try to parlay failure into a U.S. Senate victory.

Well of course! Fiorina's got all the right GOP qualifications: overinflated ego; sociopathic lack of concern for anyone not in her tax bracket; complete lack of talent and competence; grotesque selfishness; flawless record of failure and, of course, the prerequisite of having destroyed the livelihoods of thousands of people. All she needs to do now is add a bit of unhinged religious paranoia and she'll sail right into office.

The U.S. Senate is truly the worst "deliberative body' in the world.

Posted by: electrolite on September 22, 2010 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

i wish the whole dem party would run on this idea...use the example of fiorino to show the basic idea that the repubbb rich are the real ones who "redistribute" the wealth...via layoffs, outsourcing and cut backs, while scimming the remaining money streams into their own pockets.

Posted by: skippy on September 22, 2010 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

I laughed out loud when I first saw this ad and thought to myself, "nice going, Boxer campaign!" My next thought was that they weren't going to keep running the ad, but I was wrong. I've seen it every day for the last week or so. Repetition works.

Posted by: BBell on September 22, 2010 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Fiorina: If you want a job, move to China!

Posted by: josef on September 22, 2010 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

This is devastating? By far the most damning thing about Fiorina's tenure at HP is the fact all of this led to the company sinking like a rock, but that's not mentioned at all. A lot of people will see the clip at the end and say, "She's not talking about being proud of laying people off, she's proud of what she accomplished overall," which is almost certainly true. And that's why her record as a businesswoman is what needs to get hammered as hard as anything- she has nothing to be proud of.

Posted by: Spiffy McBang on September 22, 2010 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

What puzzles me is who in the world thinks that candidates like Fiorina would be good for their state? Exactly what do they see as positive about these people?

Even if Meg or Carly were good executives, so what? Running a company is not like running a government. Corporations are dictatorships. There may be some policies about getting employee feedback but the top management does what they want. Government is run by consensus and the rule of law. Neither of these women has any experience in government. How do they expect to step in and run the largest economy in the US?

Posted by: JohnK on September 22, 2010 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

At least she didn't buy the yacht with our money.

How great a job do you imagine Ms. Boxer would have done running HP?

Posted by: Texan99 on September 24, 2010 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

"How great a job do you imagine Ms. Boxer would have done running HP?"

A better job than Fiorina did running the company, that's for sure.

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Posted by: Joseph May on February 2, 2011 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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