Republicans are hoping to win control of the Senate in 2012, but to do that they need a top-flight team that will be able to recruit and support strong candidates, as well as to devise a message that will resonate with voters. They evidently have decided not to do any of that:
NRSC Chairman John Cornyn (R-TX) announced that former Hewlett Packard CEO and 2010 California GOP Senate candidate Carly Fiorina will be the committee’s new vice chair, the Washington Post reports.
“Cornyn announced the news at Tuesday’s lunch with fellow GOP senators. In a statement set to be released this afternoon, the Texas Republican says Fiorina should be a major asset — especially when it comes to fundraising.”
Because who’s better to raise money than a woman who self-funded her own campaign, right? This is really amazing. Of everyone in politics now, I don’t think that anyone has quite as remarkable a record of failing upwards as Carly Fiorina. First off, her tenure as HP was at best a debacle:
HP stock has been a laggard compared to the shares of rivals such as Dell (Research) and IBM (Research). Shares were trading at only about 13 times 2005 earnings estimates before the announcement, while shares of IBM and Dell traded at 17 times and 26 times forecasts for the current year. [...]
The legendary Palo Alto, Calif.-based company has struggled to generate profits in the cutthroat hardware business, particularly in personal computers. In fact, slowing sales and stiff competition in the PC business led IBM to announce last year that it would sell its PC unit to China’s Lenovo Group — a deal that some lawmakers are eyeing for what they call national security concerns.
PCs aren’t the only trouble spot for HP. In the market for servers — the computers used to build corporate networks — analysts say HP has been squeezed by IBM on the high end and Dell on the low end.
Do read the article if you have time. There’s plenty of good stuff: Fiorina’s exit caused the company’s stock to immediately jump 10 points, and her mismanagement caused her to lose her Most Powerful Woman In Corporate America to, of all people, Meg Whitman. She then gets forced out by the board of directors, which is rare considering that they’re usually handpicked by the CEO. You could call it a mutiny.
Then she became a Republican operative working for John McCain. She gained attention for suggesting that Palin could not run a large company, which is actually true. But this was after she chose to work for Palin’s election. So, no credit for her. Basically, she was a political flack that had no command of message discipline, which is kind of the only characteristic you need for that job.
Then she ran for the United States Senate. I’m sure we all know that story. She evidently thought that running as a pro-life, climate-denying, anti-gay conservative Republican was a good idea in California, and wound up losing easily to an incumbent that wasn’t really all that popular in an anti-incumbent year. A moderate Republican like, I don’t know, Tom Campbell could have made it competitive, I’m absolutely certain. And a Tea Partying type like Chuck DeVore would have probably gotten as many votes without wasting as much cash. Which is to say that it was all a big waste of time. In all fairness, though, she ran a better campaign than did Meg Whitman, who at this point needs to be known for who she is: the Republican Martha Coakley.
Now, she gets to be second in charge of the group responsible for every Republican Senate campaign in the United States. Another bump up, and again for no conceivable reason. I really am at a loss. The only close analogue that I can think of on the left is Bob Shrum, but Shrum’s poor record on a presidential level belies some decent successes for Democrats running for Congress, and you can’t blame him for Al Gore’s performance in 2000–I think Tony Kennedy and Sandra O’Connor shoulder a bit more of the blame for that one, not to mention the media. This is more like if the Democrats had picked Martha Coakley to help run the DSCC. Worse, even, since Coakley has actually won a few statewide elections in her day. The only conclusion I can find is that Republicans actually do believe that the super-rich are Galtian Geniuses who just think better than the average person, evidence and common sense be damned!
In any event, this is a great choice! (For Democrats.) This one goes out to the NRSC in 2012 with a boatload of irony:
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