Alexandra Tselios likes what she sees in Carly Fiorina, but feels she needs to be more consistent to be relevant. And to stop making videos.
I quite like Hillary Clinton. Sure, I have heard all the terrible things about her; the money that has gone missing; the emails sent from her private account (which included the reference about Gefilte fish that was then unpacked and analysed by media outlets everywhere), but I have also heard the whispers that she lacks authenticity, and I can see where people are going with that. Her day to day reality has been far different from middle America’s for quite some time and one of the biggest criticisms about her has been that she can hardly relate to what everyday Americans go through. So much so, that Wendy Clark from Coca-Cola is involved in the current campaign to help re-brand and rejuvenate her public image.
So there is Clinton, trying to get the democratic nominee, and along comes Carly Fiorina as a Republican candidate. Part of Carly’s sales pitch is “Only in United States of America could a law school dropout who started out as a secretary rise to become CEO of one of the world’s largest technology companies, and then, one day, run for President.” I like this about her, and I have been drawn to watching her navigate her campaign from the beginning. She has also made the point to say, “I come from a world outside of politics where track records and accomplishments count – words don’t. If I run for President, it’s because I can win and I can do the job.” Ten thumbs up.
A lot has been said about Carly, especially around her past career as CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and whether the accomplishments often discussed are even warranted. Carly fits into the similar mould of Trump, as the business-minded individual who is the antithesis of the poorly received career politician. Despite criticisms that she was not actually a great CEO (shares of HP fell 45 percent during her time as CEO of the company) she can sure as hell make a good speech during the GOP debates, far more articulately and logically than her male candidates. Watching her has been interesting; I thought it was fabulous that she was leading the charge as a far better Republican nominee than Sarah Palin ever could dream to have been – so much so that I started following her page on Facebook. That was a mistake. Suddenly, my news feeds were full of amateurish iPhone-filmed videos of her ranting about Hillary, and it felt, well…personal.
A video I was particularly irked by was the July response to Clinton’s speech and in particular the proposals made which Carly refers to as crony capitalism becoming worse, which “proved” to Carly that not only does Hillary not understand how the economy works but that she is “a card-carrying member of the professional political class.” End of video, no real retort just basically pointing out what she didn’t like. Why is that an issue? Well it is an issue because above all it felt like that girl in high school fighting for the position of school captain, who is totally together and then produces condemning home-made (is she taking notes from Lambie?) videos. Rather than pointing out to me the discrepancies in Clinton’s campaign – many of which would have proven valid – it felt childish. My interest in Carly truly fluctuates on a daily basis. I am some days impressed by her speeches and ability to articulate well where other politicians present speeches that are an anti-climax, totally boring and at worst, weird. I am all for pointing out Clinton’s failures. After all, this is a long and arduous campaign that we are in the midst of. But at the very least, seem less personal, less…Mean Girls-ish.
Personally, I don’t agree with many of Carly’s positions on some very crucial issues other than perhaps around small business, but she was spot on when she said that Donald Trump’s current success is due to him tapping into the fear and anger of Americans in this current climate. She is switched on, intelligent and capable. I want to see more of Carly – just less home made videos that feel awkward. But if you are insistent upon making these videos, at least take a leaf from Senator Lindsey Graham’s book and have emotive background music that inflicts both confusion and gravitas.
This article was written as part of a collaborative project with DownUnder-Current US
(Australian commentary on US affairs from a safe distance)