“They know her”

Carly Fiorina doesn’t seem to have left many friends back at HP.

One of the two most devastating things I ever heard one politician say about another was Ed Koch’s remark after beating Bella Abzug in an incumbent v. incumbent Congressional primary.  Not only had Koch carried the district handily, he’d carried Abzug’s home Election District (New Yorkese for “precinct”) by 2:1.  A reporter asked Koch how he’d managed to beat Abzug on her home turf, and Koch replied, “They know her.”

The Political Action Committee of Hewlett-Packard, where Carly Fiorina used to be the CEO, has donated the maximum in her Senate race: to her opponent.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

11 thoughts on ““They know her””

  1. After all I heard about her time at HP, I've honestly been surprised that people thought she might have a political future. She just seems like trouble in the long run for the state GOP.

  2. Yup, Fiorina seems like a bad joke. But I can't tell why anyone is taking Whitman seriously, either. Not that Jerry Brown is any prize – last fall's American Prospect article on his record was scary.

  3. A friend who worked at HP had nothing good to say about her. As for myself, every time I see Fiorina on television, I change the channel. She's unpleasant to listen to.

  4. This is in some ways a sign of progress for America. Fiorina is, on the face of it, an obvious example of the GWB "fail upward" candidate: engaging to look at, superficially acceptable history, reasonable ability to mouth soundbites.

    Or maybe it's just a sign of continuing misogyny.

  5. superficially acceptable history,

    What's acceptable about a 60% drop in the value of HP stock during her time as CEO?

  6. For investors, the story was HP's plunge in value.

    For those of us in Silicon Valley, the story was that Fiorina took one of the truly legendary Great Companies, a corporation known the world over as a great place to work, a company that had produced beautiful and innovative EE lab instruments, better small printers than Xerox, high-end hand calculators with a cult following, and a large number of personal fortunes, and transformed it in her image into just another company. She didn't just run down the stock; she wrecked the human culture of the organization.

  7. I meant "superficially acceptable" in the same way that GWB's history was superficially acceptable. He ran a couple of companies, was a partner in a baseball team, became governor… If you didn't know that the companies went belly up, he got a sweetheart deal for the team stake for his connections, and so forth, it would sound good. Similarly, when you hear that Fiorina became the first woman CEO of a big silicon valley engineering firm, engineered a multibillion-dollar merger, and retired $40 million richer, it sounds at first blush as if she might have known what she was doing.

  8. Wrong model, wrong lesson, Mark! Fiorina's leadership at HP taught the whole organization good judgment and discrimination, as evidenced by their learning to despise her. If we elect her, she will similarly teach state government, and all of us, to grow in wisdom as well!

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