The idea that Republicans might recruit from the ranks of successful Republican women Fortune 500 executives for their next presidential candidate has a lot of appeal to a broad base. Why?
Hillary Clinton is going to make it the year of the woman, and if she doesn’t it will be Elizabeth Warren who will on the Democrat side. The national imperative is economic sustainability and sufficient opportunity to ensure a good life for all Americans.
The American system is one of collaboration and coordination between the public and private enterprise. The philosophies and approaches taken to optimize return on national resources should be discussed and debated by competent candidates.
Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren will have one vantage from the Democrat view. People like Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman would offer hands-on experience from the Republican view.
The trouble with a candidate like Mitt Romney is that his private sector experience was too narrow and self-serving. It didn’t involve inventions and manufactured products, the things that create meaningful jobs. Romney managed a state, but he came up lame and departed before completing a second term.
These two instances of Republican women don’t have government CEO experience, but they do have private sector CEO experience, and that may count even more.
It is important that both political parties produce superbly qualified and accomplished candidates. Given these four names, they outshine most, if not all, of the male candidates who are identified so far.
Born Cara Carleton Sneed
September 6, 1954 (age 60)
Austin, Texas, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Todd Bartlem (1977–1984)
Frank Fiorina (1985–present)
Alma mater Stanford University
University of California, Los
University of Maryland, College
Massachusetts Institute of
“At Hewlett-Packard, Fiorina was a pioneering executive — the first female CEO of a Fortune 50 company — but her high-profile tenure was controversial. In 2005, after a merger with Compaq, she was forced to resign.”
She managed well, but her strategic business ideas were a bust. She is a sales and marketing type more than a CEO. Contrast her performance with Meg Whitman who has the same job and is producing much better results.
“Carly Fiorina actively explores 2016 presidential run but faces GOP critics
By Philip Rucker and Matea Gold November 25
On a Republican presidential debate stage expected to be filled with more than a dozen current and former politicians, Carly Fiorina envisions herself standing out — as the only woman and the only CEO.
Sensing an opportunity in a crowded field that lacks a front-runner, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive is actively exploring a 2016 presidential run. Fiorina has been talking privately with potential donors, recruiting campaign staffers, courting grass-roots activists in early caucus and primary states and planning trips to Iowa and New Hampshire starting next week.
Fiorina, whose rise from secretary to Silicon Valley corporate chief during the dot-com boom brought her national attention, has refashioned herself as a hard-charging partisan hoping to strike a sharp contrast with the sea of suited men seeking the GOP nomination.
But Fiorina, 60, has considerable challenges, chiefly that she has sought but never held public office. Lingering disarray from her last campaign could also haunt her next one, undercutting her image as an effective manager. Fiorina still owes nearly $500,000 to consultants and staffers from her failed 2010 Senate bid in California — debts that have left some former associates bitter.
Privately, several prominent Republicans spoke about Fiorina with disdain, saying she has an elevated assessment of her political talents and questioning her qualifications to be commander in chief.
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina addressed the crowd at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Committee in March, where she discussed her views on leadership. Fiorina is exploring a potential 2016 presidential run as a Republican. (The American Conservative Union)
But allies defended Fiorina’s credentials, saying she would make a strong contender.
“She’s very articulate, she’s very thoughtful and has a very positive message,” said David Carney, who has been a top strategist for past GOP presidential candidates and whose wife worked with Fiorina this year in New Hampshire. “She’s got just as much of a record of accomplishment and a story and ideas as anybody else who’s running.”
Carney drew a comparison between Fiorina, a free-market advocate, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a populist firebrand: “She’s sort of the antidote to the Elizabeth Warren arguments from the left.”
In June, Fiorina started the Unlocking Potential PAC with a mission of galvanizing female voters and beefing up the GOP’s ground game. The super PAC made modest investments in four Senate races while funding Fiorina’s travel to presidential battlegrounds such as Colorado, Iowa and New Hampshire. “She left people wanting more,” said Angie Hughes, the group’s Iowa director. “We did a lot of things that would be helpful to anyone wanting to run for president.”
This month, Fiorina sent handwritten notes to some Iowa activists thanking them for their help with her super PAC and looking forward to “the next phase.”
Asked this month on NBC’s “Meet the Press” about her 2016 plans, Fiorina said: “When people keep asking you over and over again, you have to pause and reflect. So I’ll pause and reflect at the right time.”
Fiorina plans to visit New Hampshire in early December to address a group of businesses chaired by Rep.-elect Frank Guinta (R-N.H.) and return to Iowa in January to address the Iowa Freedom Summit, co-hosted by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and the group Citizens United. In February, Fiorina will address the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.
Helping Fiorina chart her political future are consultants Frank Sadler, who once worked for Koch Industries, and Stephen DeMaura, a strategist who heads Americans for Job Security, a pro-business advocacy group in Virginia.
Since her Senate bid, Fiorina has moved to Virginia, living with her husband, Frank, in Lorton. Her advisers, who requested anonymity to speak candidly, said she is taking the steps necessary to prepare for a presidential campaign.
One adviser said that “the challenges are obvious” but that Fiorina sees an opportunity to run as a “non-politician offering a unique perspective.” The adviser added, “She certainly has the fire in the belly to be involved.”