Ed Hudgins

What Carly Fiorina Brings to the GOP Agenda

Recommended Posts

What Carly Fiorina Brings to the GOP Agenda

by Edward Hudgins

May 5, 2015 -- Carly Fiorina is the latest longshot to join the Republican presidential primary field. But whatever her prospects may be, she brings two important issues to the campaign that ought to be at the top the GOP agenda.carly%20%20fiorina%20liberty_1.JPG

First, if you understand that the free market is rapidly being replaced by a crony system that rewards political pull, yet is blamed for the corruption wrought by cronyism, know that Fiorina is targeting cronyism as a centerpiece of her campaign.
And second, if you’re working for a prosperous techno-future, know that her focus on the importance of entrepreneurial innovators could help frame a much-needed appeal to the Silicon Valley types who, in the long run, will otherwise be destroyed by the crony system.

Fiorina as the anti-Hillary

Fiorina portrays herself as the anti-Hillary Clinton, the woman from business rather than politics. She worked in jobs like secretary while pursuing advanced college degrees in business management. She worked her way into the top ranks at AT&T and Lucent before becoming CEO of Hewlett-Packard, one of the country’s biggest tech companies. After her departure from Silicon Valley—more on that in a moment—she ran unsuccessfully for a California Senate seat in 2010. Since then she’s busied herself with a foundation she personally funds to promote social and charitable causes.
Hillary.jpg

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton, by contrast, worked her way up through politics. She rose as an adjunct to her husband, Arkansas governor and later U.S. president Bill. She pushed Hillarycare, which failed. She was elected Senator from New York 2000, and became President Obama’s first secretary of state as a consolation prize when he beat her in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary. She’s busied herself with the foundation she and Bill formed, sucking up money from big donors and foreign governments seeking influence through the political duo.
Carly has been aggressive in challenging Hillary. When Clinton touted her globetrotting at State, Fiorina replied that “Unlike Mrs. Clinton, I know flying is an activity, not an accomplishment,” and Fiorina has challenged her to name her achievements. Part of Hillary’s standard pitch is, “Aren’t you ready for a woman president?” That won’t work against Fiorina who, in any case, declares that “It is time to declare the end of identity politics.”

Fiorina opposing cronyism

But as a major contrast with Hillary—and many politicians in both major parties—the centerpiece of Fiorina’s campaign is her opposition the current crony system. In a crony system, individuals and interest groups use political connections to secure special government privileges, regulations that cripple their competitors, or loans, handouts, and bailouts from Carly-Fiorina-GOP-primary-agenda_0.pngtaxpayers. Hillary Clinton is the crony politician poster child. One report recently found that 181 companies that donated to her foundation lobbied the State Department while she was there. By contrast, in a true free market, entrepreneurs and enterprises prosper by offering goods and services to voluntary customers without government help.
Fiorina decries cronyism, even saying that Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a far left favorite, is right about the corrupt nature of the system, though wrong about the solution; like all lefties Warren wants even more government control of the economy. This, of course, would attract lobbyists and interest groups the way a dung heap attracts flies!
Fiorina declares: “Our government is rigged in favor of powerful interests,” and she denounces the toxic union of big business with big government. But rather than simply attacking the former, she goes after the latter. Flaunting her non-politician creds, she argues: “Our founders never intended us to have a professional political class. They believed that citizens and leaders needed to step forward.” Her ask is, “If you believe that it's time for citizens to stand up to the political class and say enough, then join us.”

Fiorina at Hewlett-Packard

Fiorina argues that as a top business executive she understands what is needed for economies to grow, in particular, the sort of entrepreneurship that dominates the tech sector. She’s right, of course, but her tenure at HP was controversial and could be a political disadvantage outside of the GOP.
In 2005 she was fired from HP by the board. Her business decision to purchase Compaq, the PC maker, was seen by many as a bad move, leaving the company worse off with lower earnings and profits, which upset shareholders. Fiorina counters that HP’s revenues doubled and that the company grew from the 28th largest to the 11th largest in America from 1999 when she arrived to her departure.
By the way, Hillary Clinton was fired during her career, when she was a staffer on the Watergate committee investigating the erased tapes and unethical conduct of President Nixon. Clinton was fired for unethical conduct. Hmmm, and now she erases emails!
Silicon-Valley-Map.jpgBe that as it may, Fiorina was seen by many in Silicon Valley as the anti-Steve Jobs, a polarizing rather than an inspiring CEO. Indeed, one can imagine that, if Jobs had chosen to run for public office, whatever his policy positions, he would have been universally acknowledged as a top value creator who revolutionized the economy.
Democratic opponents will come at Fiorina the way they came at Mitt Romney, arguing that she cut thousands of jobs at her company and sent many overseas. She counters that she took the tough decisions to take her company through the dot.com bust that shrunk or even sunk many firms. That much may well be true, but “At least HP survived” doesn’t make an inspiring bumper sticker.

The Silicon Valley political opportunity

However one judges Fiorina’s HP years, all of us who understand that prosperity depends on both exponential technical innovation and free markets should appreciate the opportunity that her campaign offers us to frame the discussion about the country’s direction.carly-fiorina-technology-gop-liberty.jpg
The country is in a civil war between makers and takers. It is the producers, those exemplified by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, against the expropriators, those exemplified by the cronies inside and outside of government.
The former value human achievement. They understand the power of the human mind to change the world for the better. They are individuals pursuing their own visions. And they love and take pride in their work.
The latter resent the achievers, damn them for growing prosperous through their own efforts, and punish them with confiscatory taxes, and demand that they apologize for their virtues.
Fiorina comes close to defining this battle with her celebration of entrepreneurship and opposition to cronyism. But she hasn’t framed the issues clearly enough.
Those of us who see the positive contributions she’s making to the GOP primaries can push her to be even clearer. (Rand Paul, also running for the GOP presidential nomination, notably has already reached out to Silicon Valley!) More importantly, we can challenge all Republican candidates—and Democratic ones as well—to take a stand either with the achievers and individual liberty or with the destroyers and government chains.
And we should understand that this is the value basis by which to reach out to achievers who often see themselves as standing on the Democratic side of the political divide.

The presidential campaign ahead

Fiorina takes many positions that will not endear her to socially liberal young entrepreneurs. Fiorina opposes abortion, though she focuses on restrictions in the third trimester. She opposes same sex marriage but favors some form of civil unions and points out that at HP she provided benefits for same-sex couples. Will she continue to give priority in her campaign to restoring liberty or to a liberty-limiting social agenda?
Libertarians will not find her perfect. But the Fiorina campaign is an opportunity to define and frame issues, to make it clear that cronyism and punishing achievement will simply lead to an impoverished, dystopian future. Meanwhile, individual liberty and the human achievement ethos can lead to a fantastic non-fiction future.
Explore:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

She ran Hewlett Packard into the ground. When she dies all the high tech boys in Silicon Valley will sing: Ding Dong the Witch is Dead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ed, thanks for the well-written article. It would seem, however, that The Atlas Society no longer represents the radical vision of Ayn Rand. In fairness, Rand herself tended to move away from that in her later years. After Goldwater's defeat in 1964 she wrote about how it was "earlier" than you think respecting politics. Then she endorsed Nixon twice, once in 1968 and again in 1972. That sort of thing. Nothing can top Leonard Peikoff's going neo-con nuts on national TV, though, respecting what the US should do about Iran, but why the Atlas Society has been or was trying to get catholic with ARI is beyond me. Intellectual entropy? Reversion to the extant general moral context of hoi polloi? Outside politics, ideas don't matter? Ayn Rand didn't work so move her out and move the conservatives in?

ARI + AS = the interventionist idealess conservatism of William F. Buckley jr.? But Buckley didn't work either.

Instead of adding to or modifying Rand or even asking what happened for the sake of possible correction, just ignore her--the philosopher who never was? Then what does "Atlas" refer to since it has nothing it seems to do with any "strike" against extant cultural-intellectual-moral-political nonsense or any strike at all, especially by "the men of the mind"?

--Brant

if anybody cares, Carly can't stand up to the massive power-mongering Federal bureaucracy significant parts of which are lusting for war and conflict--what were her foreign policy views and credentials again?--Scott Walker might be able to, but he might be a war-monger unto himself and war and the likelihood of war--nuclear war--is the big thing no one of any national import seems to be talking about--forget thinking; no one thinks any more, except how to suck up to money and power

(Hey, Carly! You don't "understand how the world works." The world doesn't "work." If it ever could and did it would be the end of us all. People work the world. The environmentalists claim that's the problem. Humans hold the fate of the world in their hands. The "earth is in the balance." You are ignorant and silly. The environmentalists are dangerous--to those whom they think threaten the world. The last known threat to the world was the proto-planet that hit it creating the moon about 4 billion years ago.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...