As a rule, presidential candidates enjoy a flurry of attention on their first day, which campaigns are eager to exploit for fundraising and generating interest. It’s why most campaign kickoffs are spaced out well – everyone wants the spotlight to themselves, at least for a little while.
This week, however, is a bit of a mess. Ben Carson launched his national candidacy this morning; Mike Huckabee will make his announcement tomorrow; and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina made her bid official a few hours ago.
In a video posted online, Fiorina immediately painted herself as Hillary Clinton’s chief critic, beginning with a brief clip of the former secretary of state’s own presidential announcement.“Our founders never intended us to have a professional political class,” she says in the video. “We know the only way to reimagine our government is to reimagine who is leading it. I’m Carly Fiorina and I’m running for president”Fiorina – who first announced her bid on ABC’s “Good Morning America” – will follow her announcement with a social media roll-out and visits to Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina later in the week.
Fiorina has never held public office. She ran for the U.S. Senate in California in 2010 – arguably the single greatest election cycle for the Republican Party in generations – and Fiorina lost by double digits. She was also an ineffective campaign surrogate for John McCain’s and Mitt Romney’s failed presidential campaigns.
Indeed, at one point in 2008, the McCain/Palin team was so annoyed with Fiorina’s ineptitude that it pulled her from the team of surrogates allowed to speak for the campaign on TV.
In theory, some politicians try to parlay private-sector success into successful campaigns, but Fiorina’s business background is arguably her most glaring weakness – her HP tenure was a “disaster” that “almost destroyed the company.” By some measures, she was among the worst American CEOs of all time.
There are some reports this morning that Fiorina may thrive as a tech-friendly candidate, but she neglected to register CarlyFiorina.org – an oversight her critics were eager to take advantage of.
So, what’s left? A candidate with no public support, no experience, no relevant skills, and an unfortunate track record of falling up. Given all of this, why in the world is Carly Fiorina joining an already crowded Republican presidential field, launching a campaign that stands no credible chance of success?
Ed Kilgore’s take back in December continues to ring true.
In the long annals of American electoral politics, there’s nothing all that unusual about a pol running for president hoping in the end to be selected for the number two spot (it worked out that way for John Edwards in 2004 and Joe Biden in 2008). But it’s rare to see someone overtly run for vice president.
And yet, that’s almost certainly what Fiorina is doing. I’m skeptical it will work, but this would help explain what she’s probably thinking.