Konspiracy Korner: Running for POTUS
BOGO with the Clintons?


Really more a stub for your own comments, if so desired :- )


As I understand it, Donald Trump was recently asked "Are you going to get rid of the Muslims?"  To which he responded, LOL, "We'll be looking at that and other issues."

His rival, Ben Carson, graciously pointed out that "He probably didn't process the question.  Next time he'll rebuff the suggestion," or somesuch.  I'm not a Trump supporter, but that's how I would look at it for either side.  We are talking about real-time reactions here with no preparation.  I don't judge a man by an instant-reaction that he later regrets.

Still, there was a great Hey Bill today:


Re: Fiorina. What is strange is what makes her stand out. She seems to have studied the issues, real and campaign/media manufactured and formulated positions and short, snappy answers. She can therefore talk intelligently off the cuff in response to almost any question. In other words, she has prepared for the questions that she is likely to get. While that would seem to be basic, like a shortstop learning to field grounders, it seems to be rather unpopular among our current crop of candidates, on both sides, who often seem unprepared or surprised or otherwise winging it on very obvious questions.
Asked by: raincheck
Answered: 9/23/2015
That's exactly right. There was one discussion in the CNN debate in which Fiorina started rattling off the numbers of divisions that were needed and the numbers of aircraft carriers that were needed and other such. I thought it sounded silly, frankly; it was canned research being force-fed into the middle of the debate for the obvious purpose of making her appear to be well-informed on an issue about which she is not likely all that well-informed.
But then I saw other commentators who were just wowed by this, that she "knew" the number of infantry divisions that would be needed in some situation. I was not impressed by this in the sense that I actually believe she is knowledgeable about military preparedness, but it was a step ahead of most of the other debaters, who generally didn't seem to have done anything to get ready for the debate.


CEO's tend to vote left as a group.  Dr. D is not a starry-eyed sycophant here.  And he is not necessarily a Carly supporter.

Also, it is people on the left who disproportionately admire intelligence over character.  So again this is not a Dr. D hobby horse.


But high-powered CEO's of companies like Hewlett-Packard tend to be this way.  They are used to being breathtakingly well-informed on an astonishing number of issues.  This is the only 2% of Bill's perspective where Dr. D might go another direction; Bill suspects an artificial bit of info memorized for the debate - a manipulation, basically.  It was probably memorized for the debate; no CEO needs to be that granular.  Or maybe she's got a razor-sharp memory.  But some CEO's like Fiorina are maniacal about having info about anything she's going to talk about; that's just being a CEO.  It's authentic for a good CEO to be like this.

Intelligence as such is not impressive to Dr. D.  But when it is applied with this level of incisiveness, when a woman disciplines her mind to be ruthlessly well-informed and logical, that's a different thing.  Dr. D does not admire Bill James for his natural-born IQ; that is a birthright, like being tall or short.  James is interesting for his broadness of mind and his interest in facts-and-research over baloney.  James doesn't first decide what he prefers, and then analyze the issue.  IN THAT CONTEXT his stunning intelligence is nourishing to the rest of us.

There are billionaires around, like Trump 2016 and Ross Perot in 1992; that's one thing.  But don't kid yourself about CEO's in the mold of Bill Gates, Carly Fiorina and their ilk.  We'd be lucky to even get an audience with them, in OUR OWN specialties, and there are good reasons for that.  You have to be top-flight, super top-flight, to get anywhere near their circles.


Ever read the Bill Gates Rolling Stone interview?  I thought it was one whale of a read.  Gates is a true moderate politically, by the way.  So notice the tone of the Rolling Stone reporter, from scoffing and condescending at the start into humbled and inquisitive at the end.  With a Rolling Stone reporter that ain't easy to do.

It was a hoot for me because it WAS like an Ordinary Joe getting an hour with the CEO of Microsoft.  (Gates quit Microsoft a good 15 years ago, because Microsoft doesn't matter enough to be his priority in life.  A warming thought for Dr. D as he blogs away.)


OKDan pointed out this Barack Obama rebuff of culture war run amok.  In 2015, I don't think you can BE President -- or Governor of any state -- without the ability to sit down in a room with diverse opinions, and to really listen to everybody.  But Pres. Obama put it better than I did.

Dan implicitly wanted to know if this statement changed my view of Obama.  It did.  There were many things he said during the 2007 campaign that I ASSUMED were only said to win over the moderates.  Bill Clinton was the greatest there ever was at this manipulation.  But I never really caught Obama in a blatant lie, and the more time goes on, the more I understand his sincerity and thoughtfulness.  His willingness to make this statement about Universities -- really at his own initiative -- sort of confirmed for me that he is a reasonable man.

And that's huge.  People on the left and right assume that EVERYBODY on the other side is unreasonable.  It may only take a few Big Examples of this to get us talking again.


Dr D




I am a member of Carly Fiorina's campaign team in New Hampshire, so understand that I have a particular viewpoint.  But my observations of her have, thus far, been:

1) She prepares.  Like George W. Bush, she knows what people are going to say long before they say it. She ran a telephone townhall about two months ago, as her campaign was just beginning to do the big PR circuit with the networks - the way that this worked was that members of the public who'd signed up to receive Carly-related invites and news got a long-in code for the phone and a website to run the questions.  If you had a question, you clicked a queue button and if she randomly selected you, you got a five second warning (as she was still wrapping up with another caller) and then you would get to talk (your code would be unmuted).  So she didn't know what you were going to ask.  She fielded about thirty questions in the hour, rapid-fire...and each answer was immediate, unrehearsed and brilliant.  Yes, really.  I joined the campaign officially that day.

2) She is emotionally invested.  I do not believe that she is some sort of robotic professional politician who is coldly manipulating the circumstances of the moment to try to impress.  During the second debate, she almost lost her composure talking about Planned Parenthood (I would consider that a virtue, since I am ardently anti-abortion and have found the Center for Medical Progress reports on the misconduct and human parts trafficking of Planned Parenthood soul-crushingly disheartening). During a live townhall I attended in NH, she also almost got choked up talking about the raw potential of every human life, complete with stories of her own loved ones.  This is a passionate lady, we're dealing with.

3) She is ruthlessly driven toward her goals.  Sit and read some about how she moved up from secretary to CEO...the sacrifices she made and the shear effort she put into it...and then realize that she had no interest in doing this as a way to get into politics...the political motivation arrived only late and boy how fast is she learning there as well.

4) She is intimidating.  Not in a bad way...it was scary even shaking her hand because you just knew that she could absolutely CRUSH you in an argument...she is laser-focused and very...very quick witted.

So...yeah...take it as a biased perspective if you prefer...but that is how I view her.  I believe she will be a fantastic political leader, win or lose in this election.  I do NOT impress easily when it comes to politicians...this one is special.


Taking a position doesn't mean that you were unfairly committed to a point of view before you started.

This is one of America's Big Lies.  The idea that the only "unbiased" people are those who can't make up their minds.

Great post Matt.  A real pleasure to see a concise info-tainment from a Think Tank denizen who knows more about the issue than I do.


And you can comment 20 times on Carly without it being a fight.  We simply take a friendly tone, and acknowledge diverse points when they are fairly made.


I confess my sins weekly, and most of the time, it has to do with my being afraid and letting that fear lead me to anger. Fighting that character flaw in a continuous cycle.

And because I've come to deeply admire Carly, the emotions get in there, so I am congizent of the possibility that my initial analysis of her might take on mythic properties more associated with my passion than with the sober analysis I did in the first place. :)


I have had my eye on Carly Fiorina since March, because more than any other candidate she simply impresses me with her poise, intilligence, incisiveness, command, balance, and her position on most every issue. Her broad business experience, her travel, knowledge, experience, and contacts in the world give her a solid base from which to operate. And clearly she's a quick study, which is a major plus for any President.

My one concern is a general one and not specific to her: My reading of the history of Presidential administrations makes me strongly prefer someone who goes in with some pretty solid experience in government, preferably as the governor of a large state. It is not so much that an inexperienced person cannot learn, it is that a novice can quickly become a tool in the hands of those who already have their political instincts honed by experience, and there are plenty of highly motivated and strong-willed and cunning people determined to push their agenda if they can.

From what I've seen of Fiorina she'd do better than most with this handicap.

This country could do a whole lot worse than Carly Fiorina. The whole "she screwed up HP and was fired" scenario doesn't stand up to real scrutiny. Her life story of struggle, suffering and overcoming obstacles is admirable, and she has no sense of entitlement. If she gets the nomination it will be because she earned it.

She may have to settle for VP in this election, but then again she may be too strong a person for anyone to want her in that role. She'd be a fearless campaigner.


The jobs seems so similar, just on a smaller scale.  So yeah.  But ... like Pete Carroll said in hiring a coach, he'd rather have talent and enthusiasm than experience.  You want a mediocre applicant who's been in the job, or a great one who has a learning curve? ... and President Obama seems to have required almost no learning curve.  Maybe the POTUS job just comes with that many resources.

"Too strong a person" ... doubt I'd worry DaddyO.  A CEO has been VP for most of her life, carrying out marching orders as directed.  And as CEO she still has to accommodate the board, the stockholders, etc.

But yeah.  Carly Fiorina is one of the most strong-willed (reasonable) power brokers I've seen in my life.  In most aspects that's a big plus.  Russell Wilson is an example.  Folks like that push through obstacles that would stop me.


Ben Carson is appealing to me, precisely for his measured tone and profundity.  Personally I like the idea of a brain surgeon running the country.  Also, he can't possibly be marginalized as (1) stupid, (2) mean/crazy, or (3) both.

But I don't know a lot about him, or the candidates in general.

And, of course, soft-spoken doesn't mean weak-willed.

lr's picture

But if you hear some of the stuff he has said in the last few years, namely saying evolution was "encouraged by the devil" and that the big bang is a fairy tail, then you can start to understand where some of the stupid/crazy suggestions come from. No one I've heard is saying that the guy is generally dumb, as he is universally considered a world class neurosugeon. It's more this compartmentalized intelligence if you will that turns off large segments of the population, while exciting other large segments.

I will admit, when you listen to him speak, the politeness is a nice change of pace. It's just the things he actually says that has me turned off.


I do appreciate your tone.  Very much.

You might be surprised LR, but I used to have the same "aghast" reaction when somebody questioned the Big Bang or suggested that Phenomenon X was influenced by angels or demons.  I can relate, I really can.


But then I asked (back in the day) how much do I really know about why Carson believes that spiritual beings interact with humans?  We consider this stupid/crazy BY DEFINITION or we are knowledgable about it and this is our conclusion ex post facto?

So we can COMPARTMENTALIZE the enemy:  though he may be a world-class scientist, we still get to call him stupid and crazy and both.  Were that Ben Carson had our analytical powers on political issues, right?

No, I think that even if Carson is way off base as to the Big Bang, I'll give him credit for having a rationale and ask him what it is.


But more importantly, how about we debate Carson issue-by-issue, as opposed to dismissing him through labels.  No need to be lazy, if we're right.  If we have the truth on (say) immigration and Carson does not, then proving him wrong is far more effective than walking around him or trying to undercut his credibility.

lr's picture

in regards to Carson, so I hope my comment wouldn't be taken to mean that everything the guy thinks is now automatically incoherent. That's quite obviously a slippery slope, and I don't advocate hand waving entirely on the basis of one issue.

As far as understanding his basis for his comments, he is an open proponent of young Earth literal biblical fundamentalism, which isn't "my" defintion by the way. He has been on record many times to support that belief. I'm personally not all that interested in where his beliefs developed, whether he was raised a 7th day Adventist or became one later in life. That really doesn't make his claims any less or more valid. I just tackle the claim head on. When someone says "evolution was encouraged by the adversary", there really isn't that much to sift through. He believes the universe is 6,000 years old.

In my defense, I wasn't trying to go out of the way to undercut the man, I was merely giving some context to where some of the stupid/crazy labels come from that you made mention of because you said you hadn't followed him too much. If you notice, I didn't call him that. The guy is clearly super intelligent. I used the term compartmentalized intelligence, because I think that accurately describes him. He can apply his brilliance to medicine, but denies universal scientific truths in favor of his personal religious beliefs.

I get what you're saying as far as taking Carson (or anyone) issue by issue, but his comments in the past are a non starter for me, so I haven't taken time to find out his opinion on other thigns. I did notice the other day he said a Muslim should never be president, so that's one thing. Honestly I don't think he's put out much in the way of policy proposals. Could be wrong on that though.


A) I am not a creationist of any stripe...I'm a Catholic, and we believe the Bible should not be read literally...we believe God comes to people where they are...and 6000 years ago, we weren't prepared to understand the big bang or evolution, so we got a story we could handle that has the necessary elements of truth in it to explain God's role in creation.  I believe God created the universe by establishing the physical laws that allowed the big bang to take place, and that all of the creation story is correct and divine if you analyze it through the lens of metaphor, rather than literalism.

Having said all of that, I don't think it is quite fair to call evolution or the big bang "universal scientific truth"..they are both still possessing of HUGE reasoning gaps and big holes in our understanding.  For evolution, we cannot understand how the first amino acids managed to form if they did so randomly and do not have a grip on how it went from amino acids to linked, bonded chains that were self-replicating.  We also do not fully understand modern speciation and many good hard atheistic biologists now question the validity of "The Origin of Species".  On the big bang, there is actually a growing movement to DISCREDIT the theory and suggest that our universe has always existed, and that the rapid expansion was not a bang, but a process driven by something exterior to the universe - the so-called dark energy that seems to pull unevenly at the edges of the observable universe that we can measure.

B) Carson is absolutely correct that a PROFESSING Muslim cannot be President.  He is clumsy with his words frequently - a flaw he frequently admits - but he later clarified his meaning repeatedly.  He believes that a Muslim person, if they are fully following their own doctrine, must place Sharia Law ahead of all other laws (read the Qoran...it's in there several times).  Sharia is incompatable with the U.S. Constitution and a President is sworn to uphold the Constitution above all other laws...and to separate his religious views from the faithful execution of the laws and the defense of the Constitution.  A fully professing Muslim who will not renounce Sharia Law or condemn Islamic theocracies cannot serve in this office or we are no longer a nation dedicated to the rule of law.  I agree with him on this position...perhaps you'd care to elucidate your take?

lr's picture

Evolution is certainly regarded as a scientific truth by tons and tons of scientific bodies. The National Academy of Sciences summed it up as follows;

"Scientists most often use the word "fact" to describe an observation. But scientists can also use fact to mean something that has been tested or observed so many times that there is no longer a compelling reason to keep testing or looking for examples. The occurrence of evolution in this sense is a fact. Scientists no longer question whether descent with modification occurred because the evidence supporting the idea is so strong."


Also, your critisism of our lack of an explanation for abiogenesis is not a critisism of evolution. Evolution describes what has happened once life was started. Abiogenesis is something entirely different, much like plate techtonics describes how the earth's crust moves, but doesn't tell you how the Earth formed in the first place. I'm not sure what you're referring to regarding modern speciation or the discontent of some with "Origin of Species".

As far as the big bang goes, there is some wiggle room there. Steady state has become obsolete, but inflation (multiverse) and others are interesting possibilities, but don't have as much evidence supporting them now as does the big bang. My guess is someday there will be something that replaces the big bang, but that's just my opinion. However, when you view Carson's comments, it's clear his quibble with the Big Bang isn't a scientific quibble, it's a religious one, and that's something you'd have to address to address his comments specifically. He wasn't up there giving a presentation on the multiverse theory. He was preaching.

Regarding the Muslim stuff, I would ask this. Should hard-core fundamentalist Christians be excluded from public office? There are some that think the laws of the old testament are God's law and should still be obeyed. The killing of gays, the stoning of adulterors, you know, all the Leviticus and Deuteronomy stuff. Just as you have liberal and moderate Christians that wouldn't seek to impose their beliefs on the nation, there too exist liberal and moderate Muslims that wouldn't try to install Sharia Law. After all, any person taking oath swearing to uphold the Constitution deserves the chance to do so, right? Or should we assume any and every Muslim would break that oath?


Just saw Sipester's question, and this one.  As I'm sure you're aware, this will quickly engulf the title subject if we start in on it.

We can discuss at D-O-V, or perhaps in the old Simple Math Problem link that I put up in my response to Sipester.


As it relates to Carson, you bring up a fair point.  I haven't looked at his understanding whatsoever.  I can easily imagine that his faith in a literalistic interpretation of Scripture has created real problems for his objectivity in considering the age of the universe.  OR NOT.  But it's possible.

If it IS a cognitive dissonance for him, I can tell you (who was in those shoes 30 years ago, conflict between Genesis and science) that he has very, very few other areas of thought which are so disconnected.  That's kind of the main one where somebody like him can seem irrational to those coming from other paradigms.


As to abiogenesis - vs -  the origin of matter - vs  - organisms developing complex mechanisms despite Darwinian selection pressure against the intermittent forms -- yes, those are different basic topics.  I think that the third topic is not quite as slam-dunk, or at least as easy to understand, as the first two.

I agree, of course, that the vast majority of academic scientists refer to the theory of macroevolution (natural evolution across species) as a fact.  Whether they are overly dogmatic in doing so, and/or suppressive of dissenting scientists, that's a discussion worth another 20 years.  But many brilliant scientists have argued against it, which is one reason Darwinism has declined.  It's not stupid/crazy to believe in Intelligent Design; it's merely the minority view.


Shouldn't we consider ME?  I'm not stupid or crazy, and I disagree with a lot of things you see as elementary truth, LR.  :- )  Maybe it's possible that the Others are reasonable people.


When you say, should fundamentalist Christians be "excluded" from office:  Excluded how?  Gays aren't legally excluded from office and there's no serious attempt being made to do so.


If your point is, you're not comfortable with a politician who spiritually believes in harsh penalties, my response is, neither am I.  And it's been a long, long time since Federal law imposed any such bills of attainder, as it were.  Ronald Reagan was very religious.  Did he attempt to pass laws jailing gays?  No, because 99.998% of Christians know how to wear two hats.  Their roles in government are one thing, their worshipful lives another.

Speaking from under the roof of these houses of worship, I can assure you LR, it's very genteel and kind in there.  It's nothing like a Black Lives Matter rally.

Honestly, amigo, don't blanche at straw men.  There is no serious concern that anybody's going to pass laws for jailing gays.  Seen anything like that on the House floor lately?  By "lately" I mean, like since the Civil War?


On the other hand, there are many non-Christian people who do give me pause as to what laws they would inch toward.  Militant Muslims obviously among them.  A Muslim who publicly called us "khafar" would scare me.  I would "exclude" him in the American way:  I would debate him and not vote for him.

lr's picture

that one gave me a good chuckle. Do you think over the last 50 years an openly gay person could've been elected in Mississippi, or Texas, or South Carolina? Sure, they're not legally excluded. If you're going to say well that's just the people voting, I guarantee there are certain "filters" in place behind the scenes. What about sodomy laws still being on the books in some states? In 2003, it took the supreme court to eliminate them from the books of 14!! states who still held them. Were they still enforced? No, but the fact they remained ought to tell us something...

I think your 99.998% way overshoots the actual number of religious elected officials that don't blur the line (or obliterate the line completely) between their personal faith and drawing up or supporting legislation. Waaay overshoots. Again, look at how recent sodomy laws still existed. Many more obvious examples exist, but my goal isn't to start this whole thing up.

Honestly, don't know why I'm being accused of drawing up straw men. I didn't bring up the homosexual issue to posit that there are people in Congress trying to jail gays. If anything, I'm arguing that the lack of such a thing bolsters my point that as moderate and liberal Christians serve public office, couldn't moderate and liberal Muslims do the same. My argument about the Leviticus stuff is just giving reference to the ugly stuff that exists in fundamental religious thinking, both Western and Eastern alike. But in our country of separation of Church and State, when we elect a person, regardless of their personal religious belief, we expect them to uphold what they are sworn to uphold. Dismissing a Muslim, as Carson did, is ignorant of this ideal.

I see he has since watered down his initial statement, but that just reeks of insincerity to me. He said what he truly believes, as people sometimes do when they aren't prepared for a question, received negative backlash from both sides, and then amended his comments to appear more moderate. This is called politics.


++ That one gave me a good chuckle. Do you think over the last 50 years an openly gay person could've been elected in Mississippi, or Texas, or South Carolina? Sure, they're not legally excluded. If you're going to say well that's just the people voting, I guarantee there are certain "filters" in place behind the scenes. ++

There are no party forces in place that work against a pro-life Democratic nominee?

Supposing Carly agreed with Pres. Obama on 39 of 40 issues, but pushed abortion in exactly the same way, is she going to get funding and backing from the DNC?

lr's picture

Forces exist on both sides to squeeze the respective parties in on themselves. I think we're off track though, as my reference to gay people being unelectable in large portions of the country wasn't strictly a partisan complaint. It was just in response to you saying gay people haven't been excluded in this country from being elected to public office. They certainly have been.

Seems we've agreed on the major thrust of my argument, specifically that fundamentalist religious people running for office makes us nervous, and in my case I wouldn't vote for such a candidate. The rest of our discussion has gone off the path. So let's call it here while we still experience a moment of unity.

p.s. Since you asked, Vice President Joe Biden is outspokenly personally pro life. He's mentioned this many times. But he upholds the supreme courts decision to allow a woman to decide for herself.

lr's picture

on evolution and big bang stuff. Was only trying initially to fill in a small gap in the conversation regarding Carson. I understand from my past involvement on this site how quickly things can escalate and take over. So I'll just end my involvement with this post.

I think there is literally like a .01% chance that his views about the age of the universe, and evolution, came about through anything other than a literal belief in the Bible. In my years reading about and watching debates on this topic, I have NEVER seen a person argue for young Earth or Creationism from any foundation other than the Bible or other religious text, and I think you are giving the benefit of the doubt here way too much credibility when there's no precedent for doing so. I have yet to hear any scientific theory that uses a 6,000 year timeline for the age of the Earth. This always comes as a result of literal biblical reading. If you can give me something from the past say 20 years or so to disprove that notion, would definitely love to see it.

Agreed that this cognitive dissonance is likely to be the main one considering Carson. You could say that for anybody who is simulataneously a brilliant scientist and a YEC.  It's hard to even think of a bigger disconnect than that. The problem though is that doesn't diminish how huge a disconnect it is for someone running for president, and it's pretty easy to envision someone with that large of a disconnect having trouble separating his religion from other ways of looking at the world. If you think a person with his beliefs, as strong as they are, would always leave his religious beliefs at the door regarding same sex marriage, abortion, women's rights, funding science, the list goes on and on, then we disagree. I can show you TONS of examples of politicians, in this country, mixing strict religious ideology with policy. To think he'd be different ignores all the examples, and this is what makes this issue such a big one to people like me.


Regarding the rest, look, we just flat out disagree. You seem to charaterize the scientific fact of Darwinian evolution as having arisen in no small meausure due to dogmatic push from scientists. To think that dissenting views are silenced or ignored is demonstrably incorrect. There have been many public debates over decades between evolutionary scientists and others promoting ID/creationism. I've seen some of these debates myself. When you suggest that there hasn't been enough attention given to alternate ideas by evolutionary scientists, you must've forgotten about all these debates.

I don't think you or anyone else who is a proponent of ID/creationism is inherently stupid. I just see it as a reflection of your religious beliefs. As I said, I've yet to see someone promote ID on strict scientific grounds. There's always religious ideology behind it. Again, I'd love to be shown examples to the contrary.


PRO:  Agree with you that Young Earth proponents invariably start with Scripture and filter their science through their understanding of Special Evolution.  

In their defense, this is as if they'd been told "Young Earth" by advanced aliens and then started searching the science to correct themselves.  Their worldview is that an advanced Intelligence has given them the bottom line and now it's their job to reconcile their data.

Myself, I don't feel that way.  But it's understandable, coming from a brain-surgeon class scientist.  It doesn't imply to me that he's unbalanced.


CON:  doubt about macroevolution is in a different category from Young Earth; it definitely is NOT necessarily caused by literalism. There are many ID scientists who are not literalists in Genesis.  I myself have absolutely ZERO bone to pick with macroevolution; I simply don't believe the Bombardier beetle would make it through selection processes.  If I were an atheist, I would still rule out the Bombardier beetle scenarios.

You have not SEEN the material discussing this on scientific grounds.  That's well worded.  ;- )

Good stuff LR.  Appreciate our dialogue this time around.


We studied this time in the PC industry in business school - fascinating case studies, btw - and Fiorina's HP figured prominently, albeit not exactly in flattering fashion for her. It's a messy situation - her critics almost all get it wrong but she does defend a strategy that is, from my experience, universally derided by economist/biz school folks. That's somewhat troubling, as I distrust people that cannot admit a mistake. I also cringe every time she says that she doubled revenue - she knows darn well that focusing on revenue and not profit is a good path to unemployment. But she can't talk about profitability so we get somewhat evasive politician-speak. 

What her critics get wrong is the focus on the layoffs and manufacturing offshoring in the wake of the Compaq acquisition but neither were her fault. That would have happened regardless - the personal computer market was rapidly becoming commoditized (thanks to Dell). Critics also get caught up in the cliquish and somewhat abrasive nature of her leadership team but there is a chicken/egg dynamic there, as HP's old guard were well entrenched and extremely cliquish and she was on the outside. If her team of interlopers circked the wagons, it was probably with cause. Although they did not hit the numbers Carly promised when she sold the BOD on the acquisition, the company actually executed the Compaq acquisition pretty well. 

All that said, it doesn't matter how well you execute a bad strategy. She really had a choice between two acquisitions - Compaq, which would mean doubling down on the PC market and going head to head with Dell in a race to be the low cost provider, or Price-Waterhouse's consulting division, which would have taken HP into the 'world of Big Five'  business consulting.  Both negotiations went well but HP doubled down on the commodity hardware business, IBM swooped in and picked up PWC Consulting and the rest, as they say, is history. IBM was rejuvenated while HP floundered. A CEO's job is to get the big calls right, manage the shareholders and push her team on execution. Carly's time at HP illustrated real talent at the latter but perhaps not the former. At least, that's what I remember of the abbreviated business school take on it. Good VP material, IMHO. 


HP is #1 in the world in latops, PC desktops, and office computing equipment - that is thanks to Carly Fiorina's direction.  The company is in far better shape now than when she arrived.  You could argue that it would have been smarter to go into the consulting world, but I don't think it's accurate to say that HP is floundering today or at the time of her exit.


What is your reaction to the opinion that HP is in much better shape after her tenure than it was before?


Grizz doesn't need me to step in for him, obviously. But as with most things, I think the truth lies somewhere near the middle. While I do think the negative evaluation of her tenure as CEO is overstated, so are her successes. I will say I think on the whole, she was a net-negative performer as CEO. I was going to outlne a lot of the individual points, but I'll let the associate dean of Yale Business School do that:

Here are the facts: In the five years that Fiorina was at Hewlett-Packard, the company lost over half its value. It’s true that many tech companies had trouble during this period of the Internet bubble collapse, some falling in value as much as 27 percent; but HP under Fiorina fell 55 percent. During those years, stocks in companies like Apple and Dell rose. Googlewent public, and Facebook was launched. The S&P 500 yardstick on major U.S. firms showed only a 7 percent drop. Plenty good was happening in U.S. industry and in technology.

It was Fiorina’s failed leadership that brought her company down. After an unsuccessful attempt to catch up to IBM’s growth in IT services by buying PricewaterhouseCooper’s consulting business (PwC, ironically, ended up going to IBM instead), she abruptly abandoned the strategic goal of expanding IT services and consulting and moved into heavy metal. At a time that devices had become a low margin commodity business, Fiorinabought for $25 billion the dying Compaq computer company, which was composed of other failed businesses. Unsurprisingly, the Compaq dealnever generated the profits Fiorina hoped for, and HP’s stock price fell by half. The only stock pop under Fiorina’s reign was the 7 percent jump the moment she was fired following a unanimous board vote. After the firing, HP shuttered or sold virtually all Fiorina had bought."


Unless we want it to take up a week of our time.  But what a briefing.  Wow Grizz.

Thanks for the clarifications on your concerns about her.  As we know, her misleading and oversimplified focus on revenue is nothing compared to the media's bumper sticker motto that she wrecked HP.

That makes all kinds of sense, your analysis that she showed certain talents and skills but raised questions in other areas.  And that certain things were done well but she ran into failures at other points.  Like a baseball GM, right?  :- )  Or does history analyze any President differently, when looking back 50 years after the fact?

Appreciate the nuance.


...to the concern that Fiorina oversimplifies her record at HP, she does that because it's a soundbite culture and politicians who spend lots of time explaining things to people always lose.  She knows that it's not just about revenue (and she does also point to the tripling of HP's rate of innovation, the quadrupling of its product lines etc)...but, as a fellow conservative friend of mine said to me recently, if she would like to spend the next five months defending her HP record, she will lose badly. She doesn't have to explain it in detail to me.  HP used to not even have a serious laptop game...Compaq laptops used to be the worst in the business.  After HP acquired Compaq, HP laptops are easily the best that money can buy.  hat is how I view it.  It is entirely possible that HP could have been better off in a consulting framework...I will grant that without blinking.  But to say that HP has seen any sort of demise is just not correct.  She chose to run a tech hardware business and not a tech consulting business.  She made the tech hardware business one of the best such businesses in the world.  That's good enough for me.


I usually steer around stuff that is hugely decisive.  But I've got to say, Matt, that I'm with you and Carly on this matter.

I believe that if an abortion video, such as a partial-birth video, were shown on NBC at 8 PM on Friday, the entire course of America's debate would change.


Would be interesting to hear Mojo as to why a court trial might (or might not) exclude such a video as inflammatory or prejudicial.  In my view, the human suffering caused is part of the intellectual data that a jury should contemplate.  Few judges would agree, but I reserve the right to my own judgment.

Of course, NBC at 8 PM on Friday is not a court trial. We're merely referring to the general concept of whether such a video would be "fair."  In my view, if such a video would be "unfair", if accurately perceiving the reality of, let's say, an aggravated assault is "unfair," then that should get our antennae up.

But, this isn't a thread on abortion, so let's not make it 80% about that.  Carly Fiorina is about such videotapes; let's keep this sub-topic in its place.  "Its place" is a SURGEON-COOL discussion of whether Fiorina is politically out of bounds here.

SSI is not the place to get mad at each other.  This issue is stimulating enough when discussed in a friendly manner and with respect for the other side.  If LrKrBoi29 wants the thread locked, all he has to do is hit below the belt once or twice.  Keep yer gloves up :- )




I only mentioned the topic (abortion) because it highlighted Fiorina's real emotional connection to the issues.  James' take, the Fiorina is coldly, logically, positioning herself at all times is...I don't think a charitable enough (or accurate enough) take.  I see a genuine, passionate person who is applying that passion to studying every issue.


And you know her much better than Bill (undoubtedly) does.  This is great stuff.


I believe it was Willkie, a corporate lawyer and Utility CEO, who in 1940 was the last person to get a Rep./Dem. nomination with zero elected experience.  He was a classy guy, btw and became a staunch advocate of preparing for WW II, long before Pearl Harbo and long before most Americans.  He was instrumental in suppoting Roosevelt and in helping shape American opinion, even after the '40 loss.  Read "The Angry Days," to get a terrific view of the 1940 to Pearl Harbor debate in this country.  Fascinating stuff.

I see, in Fiorina, a similar strong character.

And I see value in her demonstrating a bit of policy wonkishness:  She's a quick study and willing to make the brave political statement.

She'll be a terrific Veep.


Willkie is prominent in Amity Shlaes book of that name. Willkie probably would have won if not for the danger overseas. He was leading the polls heading into summer. People were pretty tired of FDR's economic policies by then, but his leadership qualities made the difference. People trusted FDR in days of crisis, and war was looming: France had fallen and Britain was in trouble.

I think Willkie would have made a fine President as well. I like Fiorina as well. I thought Rubio was great in the last debate, but Carly brought a tear to my eye.

Speaking of the Forgotten Man, I think it's a real shame the Democrats won't let Jim Webb get into a debate with Hillary, O'Malley and Sanders. They sure are dragging their feet on their debates. As a former Scoop Jackson Democrat, I have an interest in Webb. I'm really not surprised by the Sanders boomlet. My Facebook feed has been filled with Sanders memes for years.


My wife, a lifelong democrat, is really annoyed at all of the current Democrat frontrunners...thinks Hillary is gross/corrupt/immoral and Sanders is unrealistic...would prefer Biden to those two, but liked Webb and is frustrated that he's getting absolutely zero media coverage.


If I were perfectly neutral, her passion and courage would have left me speechless with admiration too.  Lady GaGa considers herself courageous to "tackle" campus date rape when she KNOWS she's going to get hugs all around; Fiorina "tackles" this issue knowing she's going to be crucified for it the rest of her life.

President Obama's remarks on suppression were also awesomely courageous.

M's Watcher's picture

I don't recall ever having so many presidential candidates to choose from, yet so few actually worthy of our consideration.  Most seem more interested in padding their personal wealth by cozying up to billionaires than to actually lead the country anywhere.  I have no interest in electing another member of the two royal families, Clinton nor Bush.  Having actually been in rivalry between Tektronix and HP in the '80's and '90's, it is sad to see both as only shells of the tech leaders they used to be.  Fiorina bears responsibility for her part in HP's demise while she was at the helm.  I frankly think she played so well in the last debate only due to Trump's bullying insults.  Maybe she should thank him for opening that door.

Most Republican candidates come across as rich guys, or owned by even richer guys, and uncaring about the poor or aging.  Hillary seems bought by similar wealth, but somewhat from a different part of the political spectrum, though not all.  Most have financial/career ties to Wall Street, and it is unbecoming.

Sanders and Carson seem to be the exceptions.  I find myself disagreeing with Sanders on many issues, though agreeing also on many.  We agree on single payer health care, as the largest inpact on reducing healthcare costs is to cut out the insurance companies' bureaucracy out of the equation.  Oddly, it may be the Republican's best way out of Obamacare.  I also agree on breaking up the big banks, and campaign finace reform, to get the rich super-PACs out of the elections.  They can't buy my vote or my country.  My biggest issue with Carson is that he frequently talks before he thinks, unnecessarily offending many whose votes he needs for election.  Maybe that is because he's not a polished politician (or former CEO like Fiorina), but it may inhibit his electability or ability to lead our diverse nation.

It will be fun to see it all play out, but maybe less so without Jon Stewart poking fun at them all.



lr's picture

and something I hear a lot is that people are tired of the business as usual political system we have, and it's something you made mention of. I find myself staunchly a member of that ever growing group. I'm just curious, what kinds of things do you disagree with that you hear Sanders talk about? Is it more on the social issues than fiscal stuff?


You mean that you're staunchly a member of the group that --- > is tired of the business-as-usual?  Would be very interested to hear more about what you mean by that, and what (realistic) changes come to mind.

The Constitutional framers had in mind the idea of government inertia, of government being a blunt instrument.  But somewhere along the way the Senators (for example) have become too self-serving, or something.

Would like to hear your ideas on it amigo.

lr's picture

of the "politics is disgusting" group. I'm not as experienced and wise as some that have lived through decades of elections, but I think I'm becoming adept at sorting through pandering and political calculation. To my admittedly inexperienced eye, there is one candidate this election cycle that has good ideas and good intentions, which coincidentally is what politics should be about. There are some fringe candidates that I don't know much about certainly, but of the biggest 8-10 names, I've read a good deal about them, and only one looks qualified and is sincere about the right way to govern. Most of the rest are business as usual, and the few that aren't have bad ideas.

The business as usuals share a few traits: their speeches are full of catchy slogans, choreographed applause breaks, photo ops kissing babies on the forehead, etc. Heavy on the theatrics, light on substance. Another trait is not being clear where you stand on something until it's politically expedient to do so. They need to test out their ideas in focus groups and know exactly what kind of reaction to expect before having a public position.

Another obvious thing that comes to mind are the candidates that have clear backing from certain special interests that make conflict of interest very easy to predict. This happens with the vast majority of candidates it seems.

As far as changes, campaign finance reform and term limits are a few things generally talked about, but never done. If you've noticed this cycle, there are three candidates who have refused to take money from super PACS, two being super fringe and the other being Sanders, who talks a lot about how the Citizens United decision has a terrible effect on American politics and would work to overturn it if elected.


Not because I agree with it necessarily, but because it is so granular, yet sensible, and so knowledgeable, yet measured.

Yeah, Carson has made a good impression on me, but (two years ago) I'd have assumed he was completely unelectable due to the fact that he's got so little skill as a "Politician," and frankly he has little desire to even gain skill at it.  Ironically, which is our main complaint, the panderings and manipulations of politicians.

You state very moderately this "may inhibit his electability."  :- )  No doubt.  But I'd have never imagined Trump would be where he is right now.  Maybe the rules are about to get turned upside down.  Maybe the populace has reached its Tipping Point on business as usual.  Very, very possible.


I tried to reply in-thread above, but something about the layout made it really hard for me to follow along and make sure I was stubbing-in in the right place. So apologies!

I think Fiorina is very impressive. I am skeptical of her business record as I noted above, but I think Doc's relation to a baseball GM is pretty good. It's so hard to pin all success or failure on a CEO. I think her tenure was net-negative, but not "worst CEO ever" as she'll likely be painted.

As a candidate, she's super powerful. Her rise is not surprising to me at all. She speaks forcefully and with clarity, which when compared to most of the other men on stage, is very refreshing to the ears of a voter I would have to think. This is where having a career in business vs. on the Senate floor really comes in handy.

Where I think she'll falter is when the spotlight gets shined onto the actual content of those sound bites... During the 2nd debate, her bit about the abortion videos was powerful. I'm staunchly pro-choice and pro-PP, and it had me on my heels. I did some research afterwards, and it turns out her characterisation of the content of those videos was completely fabricated. Surely a video with that content *does* exist somewhere, but it's not in the PP videos she was referencing or that the audience *thought* she was referencing. Her comments about the 6th fleet came across well too, I thought. But again, once I dug into it more, I found it less impressive. See this Washington Post article on the fabrications (not excatly a liberal rag): https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/carly-fiorinas-de...

Truth be told, her foreign policy ideas scare the heck out of me. There's a lot of bluster about "no more diplomacy" and "not talking" to people, but I thin if anything diplomacy has proven to work extremely well.

There's also the issue of HP's dealings with Iran during her tenure as CEO, flaunting economic santions. She's denied this of couse, referencing the SEC's reponse on the topic, but when really dug into the argument starts to fall apart. USA Today of all places has a pretty good recap of it all: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2015/09/23/fact-ch...

My exec sum, is that I think she is incredibly smart and driven, easily stands out among many of the GOP candidates, and will be in the race for a while. I also think it is fantastic to have another woman running. But the content of some of her ideas do not stand up in my mind.


Since we're on the topic of 2016, and outsider candadates, etc. I would be remiss if I didn't plug the company that I'm not working for. It's called Crowdpac, and our mission is to be the definitve resource for *objective* and *non-partisan* political data, to reduce the influence of big money in poliitics and elevate the voice of individuals, and to make it easier for non-establishment candidates to run for office. We're still young and our tools aren't fully flushed out yet, but I think you may find it interesting.

Check out the main page for the 2016 race where you can see some of the ideas and tools in action: https://www.crowdpac.com/elections/2016-presidential-election

We also try to illuminate positions on issues as well, using data: https://www.crowdpac.com/issues/defense-and-foreign-policy

We're also building some interesting stuff around "kickstarter" for politics, and making it easier to reach across the aisle based on issues: https://www.crowdpac.com/crowdpacs/168/republicans-who-support-equality

Alright, personal plug over :P

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