Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Carly Fiorina is a Jerk

Frank Bruni rounds up the evidence that Carly Fiorina is a horrible person, even worse in many ways than the usual ambitious narcissist. Of her 2010 Senate campaign:
Even more so than is usually the case, the candidacy seemed to be all about the candidate. She yearned to silence forever all of the naysaying about her stewardship of Hewlett-Packard, to be validated by voters, to have the final say. . . .

The Washington Post just published a humiliating account of her sluggishness to pay bills from that 2010 campaign. That she stiffed several vendors until January 2015 wasn’t really the damning part: That’s sadly common in politics.

But The Post reported that one of the people stiffed was the widow of the pollster Joe Shumate, who dropped dead of a heart attack, “surrounded by sheets of polling data” for Fiorina, shortly before Election Day in 2010. Fiorina mourned him as “the heart and soul” of her operation, then neglected for years to fork over at least $30,000 that she owed him.

Martin Wilson, who managed that campaign, told The Post that he occasionally implored her to settle up. “She just wouldn’t,” he said.

It’s striking that he’d tattle like that on Fiorina. She apparently doesn’t leave much love in her wake. Reuters interviewed about 30 people who worked for her in 2010, 12 of whom said: Never again. “I’d rather go to Iraq,” one unidentified campaign aide groused.
Hardly anyone who worked for her at Hewlett-Packard has given more than $200 to her campaign, the minimum threshold that requires the donor's name to be listed.

Plus, her interest in politics seems limited exclusively to pursuing her own ambitions:
“It was a mistake,” she said to me in 2010 about her failure to vote in elections in New Jersey, where she’d once lived for 10 years, and in more than half of the 18 elections in California in which she could have participated.

Then she qualified that confession, explaining that she hadn’t been “running my life to seek political office,” as if such a goal were the only reason to show up at the polls.

In the cause of others, she’s not so quick, exuberant or deft. She campaigned as a surrogate for John McCain in the 2008 presidential election but had to be sidelined after saying that neither McCain nor Sarah Palin, his running mate, could run a big corporation. It was a fascinating lapse, in that she was denying them the chops to do precisely what she had done (albeit poorly, by many measures).

In her calculus, the corporate world qualified her for governing, but government experience didn’t qualify others for the corporate world. What self-flattering, self-serving arithmetic.
This in particular strikes me as weird. There are plenty of narcissists in political life, and plenty of jerks, but most of them care about politics and follow it obsessively.

All of this, plus her troublesome business background (laying off workers while raising her own salary) is why I just don't take her campaign seriously. She has no issue to push or even a well-defined point of view; she has nothing to sell but herself. And, really, herself just isn't that great. She can be impressive in a brief appearance, but over time her abrasive personality, political ignorance, and corporate history will drag her down.

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