Normally I'd respond with a shrug and say “Oh heavens, you're offended? Who cares,” but this was too delicious to pass. You can read the whole thing here or join me in a graph-by-graph mocking below:
How depressing is it that, out of the more than a dozen announced or prospective Republican candidates for president in 2016, only one, Carly Fiorina, is a woman. Even more depressing: that Fiorina, as long-shot as her candidacy is, would not be taken even semi-seriously were it not for her gender.
That is a tough and controversial thing to say, but it requires saying. I would love to see a female president, of either party, and I expect I will — if not in 2016, then in an election to come. But the female president I would love to see is one who is fully qualified to be president — qualified by dint of experience, not of chromosomes. Carly Fiorina is not that woman.
Marcus acts as though she's being a real rebel by demonstrating opposition to a conservative candidate based on her gender. Lock up the liquor and cigs! Unfortunately that shtick was beaten to death in 2008 with Sarah Palin. Palin was perfectly qualified as a governor—compared to a community organizer who'd never worked in the private sector—but her dastardly Republican affiliation magically invalidated all of her accomplishments. No conservative woman will ever truly meet the left's qualifications.
That assessment has everything to do with biography and nothing to do with ideology. (If South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley or New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte chose to run for president, you might find me disagreeing with their positions but not questioning their qualifications.) In my view, Fiorina’s background simply does not prepare her to be president.
Elected office is the only job category for which everyone actually has a right to apply (in keeping with Constitutional requirements). Elected office wasn't designed to be an industry. Seats aren't to be willed to offspring. Positions of service don't exist to create a political class—they are service positions held by everyday American folk. It should be a sacrifice, like jury duty, not a recreation of the British monarchy. Voters will weigh candidates against each other during the primary process and decide for themselves if her, or any candidate's, past experience is relevant.
For the record, I would say precisely the same about retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Politics isn’t brain surgery, but being a brain surgeon doesn’t prepare you for high-level politics, and Carson isn’t prepared. I’m writing about Fiorina because, frankly, as a woman, her candidacy offends me.
No one cares that you're offended, Ruth.
Yes, Clinton’s path to power came through her husband; if I were designing the perfect First Woman President, she would not be the daughter or the wife of a prominent politician. Yet Clinton’s history does not negate the current reality of her résumé and her deep grounding in both foreign and domestic policy.
Yes, the Benghazi disaster, the selling of policy through the State Department for donations to the money laundering scheme they call the Clinton Foundation, it's all so very romantic and résumé-worthy.
But back to Fiorina: She has a checkered, to put it charitably (failed, to put it more bluntly), business career and no political career whatsoever, having lost her previous run for elective office. It is the height of chutzpah to imagine that she is remotely qualified to be president. Or, since it’s the more likely endgame, for vice president either.
I would have serious qualms about any candidate who seeks the presidency without government experience, no matter how much value he or she produced for shareholders. Business demands different skills than politics; the presidency isn’t the place for on-the-job training.
I'm surprised that anyone can make this argument with a straight face considering the thin resume of the current President (archives failed to turn up a Marcus column excoriating the ascension of a community organizer). I disagree: politics is business. You're dealing with the business of the nation. In fact, living outside of the beltway in the real world and operating in the dynamic environment of business is very much like governance. The worst leaders are those who spend their one-percenter existences far removed from the reality of those whose contributions make the country work.
Marcus then attacks Fiorina's job at HP:
But Fiorina is a particularly problematic would-be transplant from the C-suite to the White House. It’s not simply that she was fired as the chief executive of technology giant Hewlett-Packard but that she did a lousy job.
Personally, I loathe HP with the burning passion of a thousand suns. They bought Palm, which made the Palm Pre—the iPhone before the iPhone—and its beautiful WebOS, which Apple completely copied in later updates to iOS. I was a Palm acolyte. They were ahead of their time. HP bought them around the same time they unveiled their tablets, and then announced that they would no longer support the products. It was a disaster. I was infuriated. I took my day-old tablet back to the store, dumped my Palm Pre, and was forced into the iOS world (I love Apple products, but it wasn't the same). Fiorina's replacement, Mark Hurd, orchestrated and ruined the acquisition of that product. All of this said, Fiorina presided over HP during the dot-com bust (which naturally saw layoffs) and took the reigns of HP right at the start. I realize Marcus's generation may not be so web-inclined, but the timeline is important if you're going to use it to disqualify a candidate. HP could have folded—but didn't—and Fiorina doubled its revenue while tripling innovation.
It’s not sexist to criticize Fiorina for being unqualified. What would be sexist is to hold her to a lower standard than a man with similarly paltry credentials.
What would be sexist is to not do your due diligence on Fiorina's time at HP and examining what HP was up against before Fiorina even assumed control. Waxing gender grievance based on party lines is insufficient analysis to justify disqualification.