Carly Fiorina wants you to look at her face. Her campaign released a new video, "Faces," hitting back at Donald Trump's recent comments on her appearance in which he said "Look at that face!" and "Would anyone vote for that?"
"Ladies, look at this face, and look at all of your faces -- the face of leadership" Fiorina opens the video. The video cuts together Fiorina's Friday speech to the Federation of Republican Women in Arizona with the faces of several women.
I'm quoting from an NPR story titled "'Ladies, Look At This Face': Fiorina Hits Back At Trump." A CNN story says, "Carly Fiorina has a message for Donald Trump: Yes, 'look at this face.'"
Except that Fiorina never mentions Trump in the ad. I would understand doing an ad like this without directly citing an antagonist -- but Fiorina does, in fact, cite an antagonist: the Democratic Party. Never mind the fact that no one in the Democratic Party has said that Fiorina shouldn't be president because of her looks. So Fiorina, under attack, has lashed out -- but not at her attacker. Why not? Why did she substitute the Democrats for Trump in her counterattack? Is she afraid to confront Trump?
And what exactly does she say about the Democrats?
Ladies, note to Democrat Party: We are not a special interest group. We are the majority of the nation.Wait -- what? You do an entire ad aimed at women, edited from a speech delivered to a chapter of a women's group, in which you show nothing but female faces and describe those faces as "the face of leadership," and then you accuse other people of treating women as an "interest group"?
Sorry, but that's utterly hypocritical. First of all, there's nothing wrong with being a politician and treating women as an interest group, so long as there are ways women are poorly treated in society as a group that can and should be addressed by government. We've allowed conservatives, when it suits them, to argue that identifying people by groups is always wrong. It's not always wrong. There actually are gender-specific problems in this society, and we should try to solve them. Fiorina both acknowledges this fact and damns Democrats for doing exactly what she's doing. (The applause that she'll receive for this ad will come from people who'd be disgusted by a similarly female-centric ad from Hillary Clinton -- or, for that matter, from a male Democrat.)
The final problem with this ad is Fiorina's use of the phrase "Democrat Party." Rush Limbaugh popularized this practice, and apparently it's never going away. I understand why it works: We're hard-wired to respond to our names, and we feel slighted when they're mangled. LBJ used the tactic in private -- but doing it in public is just sophomoric. It should be beneath a supposed class act like Fiorina, but I guess not.