Carly Fiorina first drew my attention early in her campaign when nobody ever heard of her. Whenever I saw her interviewed, I was extremely impressed by how she would answer every question with a display of directness, in-depth knowledge, sound logic, and clear reasoning. She answered questions most politicians would dodge. While I believed she had no chance and she certainly was not my first choice, I began rooting for her and wanted to see more of her. Here is an example in an interview she did with Katie Couric on climate change.
I was hoping she would make the cut and get into the first debate. I was disappointed that she did not make the cut for the top ten in that debate and was relegated to the “kiddie” second string debate. I thought she totally dominated that debate. I wasn’t the only one who thought that, with over 80% of the polled viewers picking her as the winner, a percentage highly unusual for a five person debate. After seeing her in this debate and her follow up interviews, she surprisingly became my first choice as a presidential candidate. Here is an example of Carly in the first debate addressing Iran and ISIS. Notice how she gives very specific examples of steps she would take.
I look for three things in a presidential candidate in the primaries. First, I look for a political philosophy that is compatible with mine. Second, I look for strong personal characteristics such as leadership, competence, and honesty. Finally, I want to back a candidate who has a good chance of winning the general election.
Carly Fiorina scores high in each of these categories. She believes in limited government, the free market, and a strong defense. She rose from secretary to chief executive of a major company. She shows a tremendous grasp of the issues, and where other candidates speak in generalities, she gives specific after specific after specific when asked how she would handle a problem. In her rise from total obscurity to qualifying for the first debate, she has shown herself to be an outstanding candidate.
In the second debate, she was magnificent. Here are two examples. The first shows Fiorina responding to Trump’s comments insulting her face. The brilliance here is that she is using Trump’s words from the question before, where he attacked Jeb Bush, against him. In other words, this was not a scripted response. She showed how deftly she can think on her feet.
For the other example, I would like to show examples of how Trump and Fiorina handled the same question on how they would handle Putin. I think these show a great contrast.
Trump basically is saying that we can handle Putin basically due to the superiority of Trump’s personal skills. He does not give any specific examples. This is basically the same argument that Obama used in 2008. We can see how well that worked (although to be fair I would expect that Trump’s negotiating skills would be vastly better than Obama’s). Fiorina takes a very different approach, including giving multiple examples of steps she would take.
After Fiorina’s success in the debate, the naturally became a target for attacks. The attacks focused on two areas. One was her business record. I will write a separate blog entry, hopefully soon, that looks at her business record. The other attack is that she lied/misrepresented on her attack on Planned Parenthood in this sequence:
In the video, a woman tells a story about how she watched as Planned Parenthood harvested a brain from a moving just aborted fetus. The charge is that Fiorina lied because the footage of the fetus in the video was stock footage and it was not the fetus that was being described. I would argue that this is standard practice and is not a misrepresentation at all. Using stock footage is a standard practice in documentaries. For example, a holocaust survivor is telling her story. As she tells her story, we see pictures of skeletal figures and mounds of dead bodies from concentration camps. There is no no claim that these concentration camp scenes are what this survivor actually saw. They give the viewer a vivid idea of what is being described. There is no difference in this video about Planned Parenthood that Fiorina describes.
Fiorina is currently my top choice as a candidate. There are other very good candidates out there, notably Marco Rubio. She has had two amazing rises. Her first was going from secretary to CEO. Her second is going from a political nobody to a major candidate for president. This may be her peak. She may be like Michelle Bachmann and Herman Cain in 2008, who each topped the polls for a week or two before disappearing off the charts. On the other hand, she might be the next president of the United States. Right now, I just want to congratulate her for a job well done.
If you have the time and want to get a better feel of who Carly Fiorina is, I am enclosing a very long (almost one hour) video from her talk to the college republicans at Dordt College in Iowa. I thought it was quite enlightening and is worthwhile if you are a Carly Fiorina enthusiast.