My ten year old told me she wanted to organize the kids in her class to support Carly Fiorina. Ms. Fiorina’s speech was the only Presidential speech at the RedState Gathering that my daughter wanted to hear. She’s a big fan. In fact, Fiorina’s 2016 Presidential campaign has been very impressive and she has been sharp. Her debate performances have been impressive. The points she has made on life and limited government have been spot on.
But I still have concerns about Carly Fiorina. Conservatives who want to hold up Donald Trump’s prior positions should do the same to Carly Fiorina. To the extent she has evolved, we should know. In fact, it is hard to label Carly Fiorina an outsider when she was the candidate the National Republican Senatorial Committee rallied to for the California Senate race in 2010. Fiorina then joined on to the NRSC in a formal capacity as Vice Chair after her loss at a time the NRSC was battling conservatives across the country, smearing candidates, and blacklisting conservative organizations and campaign teams that failed to get on board with men like Thad Cochran and Mitch McConnell. Fiorina was also the Republican the DC-GOP trotted out to join the pile on against Rush Limbaugh during the Sandra Fluke controversy.
She has had an impressive run this campaign cycle. She has been nearly flawless in message and style. But is this really her?
Back when she ran for the Senate in 2010, I noted that “from her praise of Jesse Jackson, to her playing the race and gender cards against DeVore, to her support for the Wall Street bailouts, to her qualified support for the Obama stimulus, to her past support for taxation of sales on the Internet, to her waffling on immigration, to her support for Sonia Sotomayor, to her Master’s thesis advocating greater federal control of local education, to her past support for weakening California’s Proposition 13, to her statement to the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board that Roe v. Wade is “a decided issue,” Carly Fiorina’s oft-repeated claim to be a “lifelong conservative” was only plausible in the universe of NRSC staffers who recruited her in the first place.”
In the 2010 California Senate debate between Barbara Boxer and Carly Fiorina, which was dominated — as I knew it would be and as it would be in a Presidential race — by Boxer going on offense over Fiorina’s time as CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Carly Fiorina let loose three bombshells on conservatives:
- She endorsed Federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research for “extra” embyros.
- She endorsed the California DREAM Act, which grants in-state tuition to illegal immigrants.
- She refused to endorse California’s Proposition 23, which suspends the job-killing AB 32 climate-change law.
On that last, Barbara Boxer was swift to respond: “If you can’t take a stand on Proposition 23, I don’t know what you will take a stand on.” Which brought us to the only time in the history of RedState we’d agree with Barbara Boxer.
On September 3rd, Fiorina’s campaign sent out an e-mail saying she supports Prop 23 — not quite 48 hours after refusing to take a position in the televised debate with Boxer.To restate all this, Carly Fiorina abandoned pro-lifers, immigration conservatives, and every Californian who can’t find work because of their state’s eco-radical legislation (she did try about 48 hours later to get that group back).
Fast forward to 2013, while working with the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and Carly Fiorina was on television backing the individual mandate. She cited the Heritage Foundation, which had already gone on record apologizing for ever coming up with the idea.
During a panel discussion on CNN’s “Crossfire” in 2013 about the law with former CNN host Stephanie Cutter, Fiorina said she supports keeping the requirement that every American purchase health insurance.
“Now there is a requirement for people to take responsibility, which you know most people have insurance,” Cutter said. “So do you agree with the mandate idea? That is a Republican idea, came out of the Heritage Foundation, one of our co-hosts, Newt Gingrich, was behind it. And the ban on preexisting conditions? Do you agree with those two provisions?”
She was saying this as Republicans had already attacked the individual mandate in the federal court system.
Then of course there is her tenure at Hewlett-Packard, which she has addressed decisively, but given what the media did to Mitt Romney and Bain Capital, how long before we start seeing commercials with laid off HP workers? Let’s not deny this issue can be a general election liability in a way it might not be in the primaries.
Carly Fiorina has been very, very strong lately. She has been ardently pro-life. She has been ardently for free markets. She has been ardently for smaller government. She has even spoken critically of crony capitalism and the Chamber of Commerce.
To her credit, Carly Fiorina’s 2016 campaign has been stellar, sharp, and focused. But if we are going, as voters, to revisit Marco Rubio’s Gang of Eight deal, Jeb Bush’s prior and present statements sometimes in conflict, and Donald Trump’s former positions as a Democrat compared to now, it is only fair that Carly Fiorina’s prior and present positions be examined as well.
I think we also have to ask ourselves if Carly Fiorina can really be an outsider after being the NRSC choice in 2010 for the California Senate race where, arguably, the NRSC cost itself Colorado and other seats to shore up her failing race. Can she really be an outsider after going to be the NRSC’s Vice Chair during a time the NRSC went into open war against conservatives?
Her messaging now is great as is her image. They just were not necessarily so until recently. So while I have been deeply impressed with her performance of late and my daughter is all in on Kids for Fiorina, I think we need to probe further.