The big news of the day was Sen. Ted Cruz choosing former HP CEO and GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina as his VP pick – even though he’s unlikely to actually win the Republican nomination. His selection makes some sense (in an extremely desperate kind of way), but it’s also rather confusing as well. While there are some primary implications where Fiorina might help Cruz, she does almost nothing for him in a potential general election matchup against Hillary Clinton.
In fact, I would argue that Fiorina is one of the worst Republicans alive today – period.
While Republicans have often perpetuated the idea that we need a “business person” in charge of the country, insinuating the belief that the best person to know how to create jobs is someone who’s created them, those of us who’ve worked for large corporations know that they honestly couldn’t care less about creating jobs. The only time most of these companies really ever create jobs is when they absolutely have to in order to meet demand. Otherwise it’s typically cut, reduce, downsize or consolidate as much as possible to squeeze every bit of productivity they can out of the smallest pool of workers possible. There’s a reason why over the last few decades the production output of the American worker has gone up while wages have remained stagnate. Companies are working us harder and longer, while paying us less and less when compared with inflation.
And guess what? Carly Fiorina is exactly one of those CEOs who sees human beings as expendable assets. During her time as CEO of HP she was viewed upon by many in the tech world as an absolute train wreck and was eventually forced to resign by the board of directors in 2005.
During her unsuccessful 2010 campaign to unseat California Sen. Barbara Boxer, the California senator ran an ad stating:
“As CEO of HP, Carly Fiorina laid off 30,000 workers. Fiorina shipped jobs to China. And while Californians lost their jobs, Fiorina tripled her salary, bought a million-dollar yacht and five corporate jets.”
And while most campaign ads have only a sliver of truth (if any at all), this one was rated by non-partisan fact-checking site Politifact as “Mostly True.” The only caveat they found was that with a company as large as HP, it was impossible to know for certain over the long run if the layoffs were better for business, but they don’t at all dispute that she laid off 30,000 workers while tripling her salary as CEO.
If that doesn’t define a lack of ethics in its truest form at the executive level, I don’t know what does. She was literally rewarded for putting 30,000 people out of work. How many jobs could those five corporate jets have paid for? And not only all of that, but by most accounts she was terrible at her job.
Hell, HP is still struggling to recover and become the tech giant it once was after she damn near ran it into the ground.
Besides, aren’t Republicans the ones always rallying against “elites” who don’t understand the plight of the average American? Well, her father was a law professor and a federal judge; she’s worth around $80 million; she was educated at Stanford, Maryland and MIT; and she was the CEO of a major tech company – that pretty much defines what it means to be “one of the elites.”
But what Fiorina exemplifies more than anything is exactly what’s wrong with the corporate world and a big part of our society in general. She’s someone who was in charge of a company that laid off thousands of workers while rewarding those at the top for doing so. At a time when taxes were low, Republicans were in charge and tech companies were taking off – she managed to nearly run one into the ground, while somehow tripling her salary and walking away with a “golden parachute” of around $40 million in compensation, just as our entire economy was being engulfed in the worst economic crash since the Great Depression.
Nothing like getting a $40 million severance package after nearly running a company into the ground. I wonder how many of the 30,000 workers she laid off, many of whom probably performed their jobs well (unlike her), were given such a package?
Then there’s always her blatant lies about Planned Parenthood – lies that ultimately made and triumphantly ended her brief surge in the GOP presidential race.
While Ted Cruz is one of the most deplorable human beings I’ve ever had the displeasure of covering politically, he seems to have picked as his VP candidate someone who’s every bit as underhanded and egotistical as he is. Someone who clearly has no problem blatantly lying or saying whatever she has to just as long as she thinks it will benefit her politically.
While the choice is rather confusing, the two really are a perfect match of nauseating failure.