According to a recent article in the August 22, 2009, Wall Street Journal, Carly Fiorina, the former Chairman and CEO of Hewlett Packard Company, has recently registered a campaign committee called “Carly for California”.
It is being formed, apparently, in preparation for Carly’s potential 2010 challenge against California’s longtime Senator Barbara Boxer, the Democrat super-liberal who recently publicly dressed down a U.S. Army Officer appearing before her Senatorial Committee for referring to her as “ma’am” instead of “Senator” in answer to one of her questions. As I recall, the Senator was caught on national television saying that she had spent many dollars earning the right to be addressed as “Senator” and was offended when the Officer instead referred to her as “ma’am”. (Apparently, the Senator had “forgotten” that soldiers are schooled to address their superiors as “sir” or “ma’am”, as a sign of respect for the position they hold).
According to July, 2009, Rasmussen Poll, Senator Boxer leads Ms. Fiorina by only 45% to 41% of likely voters in a match-up between the two. Although Republican Party registration in California fell to only 31.4% of voters in 2008 according to the Public Policy Institute of California, Democrats are taking the potential challenge to Senator Box seriously. Democratic Party registration in California has also fallen to 44.4% in recent years, and the percentage of independent voters has grown significantly.
At a time when California is confronted with huge and seemingly unsolvable economic problems, it is possible that the business credentials and a well financed campaign by Ms. Fiorina could have significant appeal to the voters in the Golden State. On the other hand, her removal as CEO by Hewlett Packard’s Board of Directors in 2005 is a negative. Her other potential negatives, according to the Journal, include the fact that she is moderate on social issues and is pro-choice on abortion. She would face a popular conservative Assemblyman in the Republican Primary if she wins.
Still, the idea of somehow defeating Barbara Boxer in California is an intriguing one, because Senator Boxer’s political base is the extreme left-wing of the California Democratic Party. Her defeat would send shock waves across the country and signal a resurgence of the Republican Party nationally.
I had the opportunity to meet and visit with Carly Fiorina at a small dinner held at the State Chairmen’s Republican Party Meeting in New Mexico in 2008; and I introduced her the next morning at the Meeting when she spoke on behalf of John McCain. She came across to me as a tough, no-nonsense businesswoman with a strong handshake; and she is an exceptionally effective stump speaker. As I listened to her speech, it was clear that she strongly believes in conservative business principals and would unquestionably be an effective and knowledgeable candidate on economic issues when California’s unemployment rate, as of July, 2009, stands at 11.9%.
The problem facing California Republicans in 2010 is the same problem facing Republicans in many states. In the upcoming Congressional elections, can Republicans find a way to temporarily reconcile their differences on social issues and join together to defeat the Democrats? Can they support their nominees in an enthusiastic and energized way, whether the Republican nominees are conservative or moderate? If Republicans are to make a comeback in the upcoming 2010 Congressional elections, Party unity is the key. As Benjamin Franklin said: “either we hang together or we will hang separately."
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