Thursday, September 17, 2015


Everyone from The Weekly Standard's Michael Warren to The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart to Politico's panel of "early-state insiders" believes that Carly Fiorina won last night's debate. I think she's going to get the biggest media bounce from the debate -- if you watch political TV or read pundits, you won't be able to avoid her for a week or two -- and I assume she'll get a poll bump as well. But I predict that a month from now she'll be back in the 3%-5% range, because she's just not the kind of woman Republican voters want.

She's not Sarah Palin or Joni Ernst. The legend of Palin is that she's an Alaska military mom who can field-dress a moose. Ernst is a military veteran who rides a Harley and used to castrate hogs on a farm. Their real or fictional toughness is rural, red-state, red-white-and-blue toughness. Their official biographies could be the lyrics to country songs.

And in public, Palin and Ernst both have big smiles for their allies. (You know how men are always asking women to smile.)

Fiorina reeks of coastal urbanity and the boardroom. She doesn't smile much. And while she radiates much more energy than Jeb Bush, she seems even more miserable than he does on the campaign trail. (You and I may not enjoy Sarah Palin's public appearances, but it's obvious that Palin enjoys them.)

Fiorina's words are brined in contempt -- nearly every sentence she utters seems as if it could be completed by an unspoken "you idiots." Palin, in her own uninformed, bratty, inarticulate way, comes off this way as well -- but her targets are always the right-wing base's enemies. Fiorina is going after base favorites like Donald Trump. I can't imagine the base warming to her if she's challenging one of their heroes.

She's well informed. I think that's a disadvantage -- there are three candidates in this race who've never held elected office, and the two who don't know diddlysquat about politics or policy are at the top of the polls. The base looks at Trump and Carson and thinks, They're us. The base doesn't understand the issues, so the base relates to Trump and Carson's insistence that they're going to deal with everything based on uninformed intuition. As an outsider, Fiorina would be more appealing to the base if she knew less.

She is impressing the media, however, especially the mainstream media. That's not going to help her much. A few months ago, when Jeb Bush was raising massive amounts of money, he impressed the mainstream media. That's not what the base wants. The base wants to feel it's rebelling against the system. So a month from now I think Fiorina's modest poll bump will have ended, and it'll still be Carson and Trump -- quite possibly in that order -- at the top of the polls.


Yastreblyansky said...

Hey, Fiorina may be "well informed"--I'd say well prepped--but watching her trembling with emotion about a scene in a video that doesn't exist (see Vixen for a nice visual), and advising everybody else to watch it too with the suggestion that we'd all get just as emotional as she is, suggests she's as detached from reality as Ronald Reagan ever was. That would explain why she thinks she was a successful CEO, too.

sdhays said...

Based on the media reaction to Carly's performance and what seemed like another weak performance by Jeb!, I'm wondering if the Republican Establishment will start to look at Carly as their Plan B to stop Trump. Because it sounds like she's one of the few who seems capable of putting the Donald in his place. Jeb clearly can't. (The attack on Columba Bush was weeks ago, and he's only NOW getting around to suggesting that Trump maybe, possibly, pretty please owes her an apology?)

I've always felt that Mitt wouldn't have been so upset by Donald because he's just as nasty and vindictive. Carly may be the same. It doesn't mean she'll win the nomination, but they're going to need SOMEONE to replace the hapless Jeb to be the anti-Trump, and I can't believe they're going to turn to John "I won't apologize for expanding Medicaid under Obamacare" Kasich, at least not until they're so desperate it's too late. Carson is a joke too; he'll never be the establishment choice because he's just so medicated.

marieburns said...

Or, as somebody put it a while back, "Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?"


Steve M. said...

That obnoxious statement by Trump probably reflects what a lot of GOP voters feel.

Marcus said...

Trump won the debate last night…because his foot was still on JEB’s throat by the end of the night…JEB his is only target. the rest is side show for the advertisers
And everybody sees it even the media can’t protect him anymore… that’s why their running over themselves to look for the new anti-Trump… Carly Fiona the failed CEO with not a very good facelift…Trump gave her a cookie by saying she is still a beautiful woman…but at the end she looks weak playing the victim….which doesn’t suit her at all…totally agree fake bounce within 2 wks. back to low digits
Gota luv JEB…tone deaf ……he sets himself up by asking an apology for his wife which he doesn’t get and as no follow up
The back hand on having more energy on stage tonight was a thing of beauty
Trump owns him…and JEB is damaged goods

Feud Turgidson said...

Steve, when you're right, you're right.

But her fall fail's gonna take a minimum of two (2) poll aggregation periods. The first one's likely to get over-interpreted as showing, under some humanly undetectable filter, an itsby bitsy teeny weeny little bumplet (at most, since they'll have to resort to Pythagoras squared just to get that out)m but the election hype media are bound to explain that away as not purely reflecting her Great Unquestioned Victory over the Trump-Trump Bird ('Come to us now, our gruesome girl ...').

By the NEXT aggregation reporting period, some media types will get the dubious privilege of going on camera, with Tweetybird or the Megan or the Scar, and pointing out the obvious.

Anonymous said...

Well the media is predicated not on reporting the truth but on selling their own biased narratives. It's why nobody trusts or likes the press. Voters know Snarly Fiorina has accomplished nothing besides destroying two great companies in Lucent and HP, laying off tens of thousands of workers, and losing a Senate election in a landslide.

Nothing the media says is going to make voters elect someone with that horribly dismal resume of incompetence. Even Trump is far more qualified than she is -- the only candidate less qualified than her is Ben Carson.

I'm more convinced than ever that Hillary will be the next President. This Republican field is abysmal. If Carly is the Great Right Hope, they're finished.

Marcus said...

Unknown you’re very good,
That’s why Trump needs to win the republican primary. He would shatter their paradigm which has been screwing the republican rural and southern middle class voters for 40 years
Finally they would vote their economic interests….immigration is a side show because they believe they are being undercut by them at the ground level
Trump is a threat to the flat tax propagandist (very high income earners)…he is a redistributionist
To say that CEO’s are under taxed coming from the republican front runner is simply amazing.
If you stagnate the middle class to long….people often turn on each other and usually immigrants are often the easiest target.

KaliTa said...

Why is she running for anything at all? HP gave her all that sweet cash and she's never been interested in public service, so why isn't she sipping cocktails in Fiji?

Feud Turgidson said...

5d7etc - catchy online name there, dude.

I've gone with "unknown" because it's so, I dunno, DEMOCRATIC. Anyone can jump in & use it, post any damn fool thing they want while taking credit for my own occasional eccentrically-aimed hits. YOU, OTOH, take the bold step forward, unconcerned with pointing fingers ('That's him! There he goes, walking about like nothing's just happened. That's 5d7... for you.').

Rand Careaga said...

In 2010 Fiorina ran for the Senate from California and the preternaturally charmless Meg Whitman (herself now racking up an undistinguished record as Hewlett Packard CEO; a woman beside whom, in points of warmth and empathy, Ann Romney looks like Sally Fields) contested Jerry Brown for the Governor's seat. Looking back at the numbers in that election, it's worth remembering that both women garnered fewer votes than were received by a (losing) state ballot initiative to freaking legalize recreational marijuana. Legal dope got 417,017 more votes than Fiorina for Senate. Whitman was less popular than reefer by over 600,000.

We expect a similar initiative to appear on the ballot for the 2016 general election, and this time it will pass.

Gadfly said...

Hey, now. Carly castrated H-P workers. What more do you want?

Anonymous said...

"Fiorina's words are brined in contempt -- nearly every sentence she utters seems as if it could be completed by an unspoken "you idiots." "

That seems to be pretty much Carly's normal communications style. Years ago, in her H&P days, my brother had some dealings with her as his company was a supplier of theirs. Everyone who had any communications with her loathed her because that was exactly what they all thought.

I hate like hell to give The Donald the benefit of the doubt on anything (and god knows his communications style could use a lot of work) but I think he may have been reacting to that aura of negativity and contempt that comes off of her as opposed to her physical appearance. Miss America she's not but she's not ugly either. But I don't like looking at her either because of that aura.

Of course if the Rethugs are looking for an attack dog as V-P candidate she'd be a pretty good choice.

M. Bouffant said...

Getting a distinct Richard B. Cheney vibration from Ms. F. She could easily be teamed w/ one of the sad-sackier candidates & sold as "the V.P. who'd get things done" while the Prez is wandering around walking into walls & so on.