As the GOP embraces the reactionary politics and anti-government zealotry of the Tea Party, it is steadily purging “moderates” and empowering extremists. Nothing shows this trend more clearly than the lineup of potential Republican presidential candidates. In this new series, we’ll be looking at the records and promises of the Republican Party’s leading presidential prospects. Next up is Carly Fiorina:
Carly Fiorina may have lost her post on the McCain-Palin campaign and her closely watched U.S. Senate race in California, but now the former Hewlett-Packard CEO is planning another foray into politics…this time, running for president. Fiorina told Fox News Sunday in March 2015 that there was a “higher than 90 percent” chance that she would throw her hat into the ring, noting that Hillary Clinton would “get a hitch in her swing” if she were to face a female opponent.
However, her time at HP was not exactly a success story, as it ended with the company’s board firing her in a very public spat.
Arianna Packard, the granddaughter of HP cofounder David Packard, said Fiorina’s tenure was a “disaster” that “almost destroy[ed]” the company: “The stock price dropped by 50%, only to rally 10% on the announcement of her firing. She fired 28,000 people before she herself was fired, departing with the 21 million dollar golden parachute that is financing her campaign.” (The golden parachute also included an additional $19 million in stock and pension benefits, which is quite a severance package for someone considered to be one of the country’s worst CEOs). David Packard’s grandson, Jason Burnett, added that Fiorina “did damage to a great company and I don’t want to see her do damage to a great country.”
Her legacy includes offshoring American jobs, overseeing huge layoffs, and pushing through an ill-fated merger with Compaq, which one competitor called the “dumbest deal of the decade.” Fiorina also put business above American foreign policy interests, finding ways to work around U.S. sanctions so that HP could to continue trading with Iran.
While running for U.S. Senate, Fiorina was a strong supporter of Proposition 8, which ended marriage equality in California, and mocked efforts to address human influences driving climate change as being “worried about the weather.”
But perhaps a Fiorina presidential campaign could have a silver lining … if it means the return of the demon sheep ad.