One of my favorite game announcers for the San Francisco Giants is a former Giant himself, pitcher Mike Krukow. He works numerous trademark sayings into his schtick every game, but his most famous one might be: “Grab some pine, meat!” …used to add a humorous insult to someone’s embarrassing strikeout: go sit on the bench, you pathetic rookie!
Well then: Ted Cruz, grab some pine, meat! Carly Fiorina, you’re outa here! The only way either of you will get near the White House anytime soon is with a written invitation from the president herself.
There’s plenty of time to fret about the potential presidency of one Donald J. Trump, as so many columnists are doing right now with variations of “Trump’s hostile takeover of the GOP.” Sadly, there will likely be plenty of time down the road to wallow in the evil that is Ted Cruz. “Lucifer in the Flesh” and he’s only in his forties!
There’s also time to marvel at Bernie Sanders’ resilience, even as the prospects of his actual nomination fade. He wants his agenda to live past the death of his candidacy, as it should. And so the asymmetrical fight goes on. The only question, on both sides of this much-touted, and much-needed, populist revolution is whether either side has considered many of the actual details regarding what happens after the overthrow succeeds. All I’ve ever heard, from either side, is generalities.
But all that can wait. Right now, I want the good-byes.
And the one good-bye that I actually stand a chance of enjoying comes from almost-Veep-for-barely-a-day Carly Fiorina. At least I and my fellow Californians will now be spared her desperate tour of our state before the June 7 primary. Please, Carly! Return to Virginia and have a wonderful retirement away from me.
This Daily Beast article, written on the same day that Ted Cruz announced Fiorina as his running mate, wondered if her charisma might outshine Ted Cruz. My take: that could only be because Cruz has no charisma whatsoever. Fiorina does not have any of that; she has a reputation.
I’ve worked in high-tech continuously since 1982, and Fiorina is hardly the first executive I’ve watched take down a company—and walk away from that failure rich. And I’ve already spent a lot of ink describing her various missteps: here (scroll to the bottom) and here (7 paragraphs down), so I won’t repeat all that yet again.
Hah! Only the juicy parts.
Dissing an inaccurate article about a dead candidacy is certainly beating a dead horse, but I must. I’m amazed at the fantasy that Fiorina was the only target of Trump’s wrath who forced him to take it back. Trump backs off all the time! He makes a statement and then eats it within hours if the Twitterverse tells him to.
“That face! How could you vote for that face?” he said of Fiorina. Confronted about it at the next debate (but not by Fiorina), he caved completely without meaning a word of it: “She’s got a beautiful face. She’s a beautiful woman.” His secret weapon is that you can agree with either of his opposite positions, or neither. Doesn’t matter: he’s succeeded in getting you to talk about him.
Fiorina certainly has Trump’s bluster down. Her initial big score was in the first debate (the junior version), when she breathlessly denounced that horrid and fictional “brain harvesting” section of the Planned Parenthood video. (That moment earned her a significant blip in the polls, while the video has earned its makers criminal forgery charges.)
Her polling blip earned her a spot on the main debate stage for the infamous in-front-of-Air-Force-One debate, and she scored big where she threw Trump’s insult back in his face live. That gutsy moment earned her a second poll blip, but she couldn’t manage any more after that, and slid back down below the margin of error.
I suppose that selecting her before the California primary was supposed to help Cruz win the Golden State. But Fiorina has a consistent public record of losing in California: Lucent got into major financial trouble (that Fiorina had helped generate) shortly after she left, which forced the company to merge with also-dying giant Alcatel. Hewlett-Packard fired her in 2005 after a stormy tenure as CEO, she lost the 2010 California Senate race to Barbara Boxer in 2010, and of course most recently she dropped out of the 2016 Presidential race (as previously noted, with poll numbers below the margin of error).
She’s a winner in the way Charlie Sheen was WIN-ning when he got fired from 2-1/2 Men a few years back. She’s failed at everything and been paid well for it. She even failed at paying the widow of her campaign manager the $30K he was owed before he died—until that deadbeat behavior stood in the way of her presidential campaign. At least Sheen recovered with a new TV series.
A CEO once told me that the first statement that any CEO makes to the audience at a worker event is always a lie. Let’s test that: the first thing that Carly Fiorina told her Hewlett-Packard employees ever, at the first company meeting after she signed on was: “I only tell true stories.”
One of the stories she tells now is, that she doubled the size of H-P and “grew jobs.” It’s true that using arithmetic while purchasing companies (such as Compaq) and then laying off nearly half their employees does add up to a single larger company. But it’s wacky math—just ask any of the laid-off workers.
What adds up to truth is that the day and week following her firing by the H-P board of directors, H-P’s stock price shot up—adding some $3 billion to the company’s value. In other words, firing Fiorina was the most profitable single move that H-P ever made.
So, if Ted Cruz’s worst move for Indiana was going there in person (see the next couple of paragraphs), his second worst could have been welcoming Fiorina to his sinking ship. And I offer as proof this swan song of Fiorina’s own making, creepily sung to Cruz’s daughters and an unsuspecting rally audience.
Cruz’s way-in-advance choice of Fiorina for his running mate, masterfully mocked by cartoonist David Horsey, tanked from the very moment he made the announcement and the two fought to achieve a strikingly awkward victory pose.
Stephen Colbert had some fun pondering Cruz’s unpopularity: his Indiana poll numbers dropped when he actually began campaigning there! One week before the primary, Cruz led Trump 45% to 29%. Then Cruz showed up and one day before the primary, Trump had gained 20 points to 49% while Cruz dropped 11 points to 34%.
Dyin’ Ted did no better in the aftermath of his loss to Trump, elbowing his wife in the face TWICE while accepting condolences from a supporter. Cartoonist Horsey illustrates the conventional wisdom of how Cruz sabotaged the Stop Trump movement, armed with nothing but his creepy personality.
As of this writing (nearly a week following the Indiana primary and Cruz’s withdrawal from the race), he has not endorsed his opponent. Trump, of course, immediately complimented Cruz (and by extension his followers) moments after Cruz withdrew. It’s easy to like an enemy you’ve defeated (and whose voting supporters you covet). Harder for Cruz to like the one who defeated him.
Let us not forget that scant hours before the Indiana primary, Trump played the Tabloid Card and suggested that Ted Cruz’s father had something to do with the JFK assassination! Ya gotta love it. Cruz responded with vitriol on the morning of the primary—not that it did him any good. He lost by 17 points and was out of the race by shortly after sundown.
Even right-wing radio star Glenn Beck couldn’t help his friend Cruz, with one of the craziest videos I’ve seen anyone do voluntarily. Beck dipped his face into a bowl of ground-up Cheetos in an effort to look like orange-faced Trump (or was he trying for John Boehner)? Didn’t work—instead he looks like he slept in his own vomit after a frat party:
Now come all the articles chronicling the alleged breakup of the Republican Party as stalwarts like the Bushes and Romney and McCain refuse to participate and may even actively oppose. A massive rift? A party death? We’ll see. I’ve heard that predicted before.
A third-party run? That has scary possibilities I’ll write about in the not-so-distant future.
Political Survivor #41. Don’t miss an issue—subscribe!