Repubs Like Outcome of Boxer-Fiorina Debate


Coveted 18-35 demo turns out for Senate debate.

A roomful of supporters of a California Republican candidate got their money's worth from Carly Fiorina tonight as the former Hewlett-Packard CEO and Republican Senate nominee faced off for the first (and apparently only) time against Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer.

Starting with video confirmation that Fiorina is substantially taller than Boxer, the crowd of about 30 supporters of 28 District State Senate candidate John Stammreich, watching the debate on television at Stammreich's Torrance headquarters, cheered Fiorina's on-point though somewhat affectless performance.

Children are wise enough to ignore politics.

This crowd was longer on social conservative than libertarian passion. A group "YES" went up as Fiorina affirmed that she would not support "amnesty," and a fugue of "Right!" and "That's right!" followed Fiorina's affirmation of her support for Proposition 8, the state's 2008 ban on same-sex marriage. Mentions of illegal immigration prompted plenty of muttering.

On the other hand the room was silent on Fiorina's admission that she would "overturn" the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision "if it came up" (i.e., if the Senate were in position to overturn a court ruling, which it is not – a point Fiorina seemed to grasp better than debate moderator Randy Shandobil). There was also no reaction to Fiorina's professed support for the DREAM Act, which would provide financial aid to illegal immigrants who came in as children. (This time it was Carly who failed to note that this is a proposed California law, and she's running for the U.S. Senate.)

Boxer was characteristically facile, but suffered several setbacks. She returned at least four times to her efforts on behalf of veterans and her "love" for the military, only to have that strategy unravel when the topic turned to Boxer's July "Don't call me ma'am" contretemps with Brig. Gen. Michael Walsh.

Boxer's other main thrust of the evening was a protectionist attack on Fiorina's record at HP – including digs at Fiorina for having "30,000 jobs shipped overseas" during her HP tenure, and a vision of "Made In China" and "Made In India" stamped where "Made In America" should be.

Fiorina's defense on this point was pretty straightforward: "In the 21st Century," she said, "a job can go anywhere." She also put off a video-voter question from a disgruntled former HP employee who asked if she would accept that a job is a "God-given right." Pushing her advantage too far, Fiorina then chided Boxer for soiling the reputation of HP, "one of the jewels of California" – a tack as transparent as Otter's defense.

The sun goes down on Republicans watching Fiorina/Boxer debate.

The most interesting questions of the night came from, respectively, a video voter (described with wonderment by Shandobil as "not a Republican or a Democrat – an Independent") who wanted to know what the next senator would do about farm subsidies, and La Opinión's Pilar Marrero, who asked whether Boxer (widely seen as the more partisan firebrand to DiFi's get-along moderate) had ever differed with President Obama on anything.

Boxer's response to the subsidies question was preposterous: She bragged of having added a host of new specialty crops to the subsidized list. Her professed difference with Obama concerned an "exit strategy" for Afghanistan.

Boxer's easy demeanor may have been working against her. All Fiorina had to do was get some good digs in, which she did by focusing on Boxer's lengthy Senate record. Boxer's decision to put protectionism front and center – repeating the "Made in U.S.A." theme throughout and returning to offshoring of jobs  in her closing comments – seems odd in an era when most grownups have stopped treating fluidity of employment and the fragility of a job as campaign issues and recognized them as facts of life.

There was little to nothing in either candidate to please fans of individual liberty, with Fiorina's proud stance against reproductive choice and Boxer's prouder stance in favor of a calcified, unionized form of jingoistic protectionism leaving little but nightmares for libertarians.

A crudely doctored photograph shows the "ghost" of Ronald Reagen haunting Republican John Stammreich.

As for our host for the evening, I appreciated Stammreich's candor about the people he supports. "I will admit," he told the crowd, "[Fiorina] was not the person I was voting for" in her primary race against Chuck Devore and Tom "Demon Sheep" Campbell. Before praising Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley as a "crime fighter," Stammreich noted that Cooley is "not a spiritual speaker. He's not going to replace Tony Robbins or Joel Osteen." His characterization of Fiorina a "strong, conservative, pro-life, pro-marriage candidate" seems about right to me.

Stammreich is not supporting Proposition 19, though he does support medical marijuana and "taking a look at recreational use."  His reason for not supporting it, however, seem to me troublesome in ways that go beyond pot coolness or uncoolness. He believes a pre-emptive move on pot legalization might endanger federal contracts with companies in California such as Raytheon (where he works as a supply-chain manager). Leave aside how this stacks up in terms of support for individual freedom and think about what it means for fiscal conservatism. If you're not willing to risk some shriveling of the federal tit, how can we believe you're serious about cutting government spending?

Still, best wishes to Stammreich, to his Democratic opponent Jenny Oropeza (who is battling an abdominal ailment), and of course, to Libertarian Party candidate David Ruskin.

Related coverage from the Merc, the Comical, and the L.A. Times.

NEXT: Two States, One Cup

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  1. What I love most about that opening photograph is that 2/3 of the adults in that photograph will no longer be in the voting pool 10 years from now.

    Adios Amigos! We love you but we strongly disagree with you! And, we’re coming after your policies as your numbers decrease; we will take those policies down and we will replace them!

    Don’t be mad at my vehemence, you could have compromised but you chose the attack model, instead.

    Life’s a beach…and then you frown…or was that drown?


    1. Nice. Celebrating the imminent demise of a roomful of voters.

      Stay classy!

  2. There was little to nothing in either candidate to please fans of individual liberty

    Disagree. Neither represents a change in the status quo, and it’s hard to ask more of California. Finding an even pettier statist than Boxer is pretty easy.

    But seriously, how difficult is it to attack Fiorina’s tenure at CEO? She not only laid people off but also presided over a 60%-ish decline in the value of the company before getting a $20 million severance. She’s been called one of the worst CEOs by God knows how many publications. Is it really that hard to tie that in with her fitness to be a senator?

    1. Meh. If she was campaigning for governor, I think her ability as an executive would be more of an issue. But she’s running for Senate, and the only thing those people have to manage is their own staff and eventually their re-election campaign. Who cares if she can’t turn a personal profit from K Street bribes.

    2. The media loved Fiorina when she got the HP gig. I never understood the fawning, especially when it became pretty quickly apparent that she was incompetent.

      That said, I’d vote for just about anyone to replace Boxer.

      1. The media loves a female CEO, not matter how incompetent.

    3. Boxer did bring it up actually but didn’t really have a response to Fiorina pointing out that her pay and severance had been voted on by shareholders.

      And unfortunately, Fiorina lacked the debate skill to really point out that taxpayers don’t get the same opportunity to vote for teacher salaries (the context for the attack was teacher accountability) as the shareholders did to vote for hers.

  3. the mean streets of tha C.O.T.? torrance is the best

  4. 18-35

    Because the left one is FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF and the right one is FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF, amirite?


    (This is filler to make this comment “English.” So is this. And here as well, this part, too, is that same thing, doin’ that some more. Now is the time for all good men to filler filler filler yo. English only. Teabag site. No Mexiqueers. Beck/Slayer 2012.)

  5. digs at Fiorina for having “30,000 jobs shipped overseas” during her HP tenure, and a vision of “Made In China” and “Made In India” stamped where “Made In America” should be


    It should be noted, however, that HP’s customer service is fucking awful. Outsourcing to India is only negative when their customer support consists of the Indian support person reading from a script and…not knowing the first fucking thing about computers. And refusing to connect you to someone who does.

    1. ..or knowing a little bit about computers, but assuming you know nothing because you called the help line, and ignoring your statements that you’ve already rebooted, checked specific .dll files, etc.

  6. “reproductive choice”- oh you mean killing defenseless babies? that’s definitely the cause liberaltarians should hang their hat on.

    1. Know, it means amputating fetuses, duhh.

    1. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

      1. You two aren’t going after the Discovery Channel next, are you?

  7. Jeez o’ wiz, was there a fucking weight minimum to get into this thing?

    The only normally proportioned* person there was the cardboard cut-out of Reagan.

    *said with irony considering most Americans are obese or overweight

    1. It was the 18-35 demo, maybe he meant 18-35 stone?

    2. Also, and obviously, this looks to be another Douchebag v. Turd Sandwich deathmatch.

  8. Remember when politicians used to brag about all the positive stuff they did and can still do for their states? Doesn’t sound like Boxer has done anything in 20 years for California besides get richer.

  9. If the tea party Republicans were serious about limited-government issues, they would have rallied behind the Milton Friedman-quoting Campbell. Instead, they attacked him as a RINO.

    1. Why did they attach him as a RINO? He must have said something.

    2. What the hell is it with the Republican Party and Barbara Boxer’s Senate races? Every time, all they’d have to do is nominate someone halfway normal and competent. And every time they end up nominating someone like Bruce Herschensohn—who was only slightly to the right of Albert Speer—or Matt Fong… Seriously, is there any doubt that Tom Campbell would have mopped the floor with her this year? Instead, the Republicans all had to out-do each other with showing how unbiased they were.

      Amakudari hits it right on the head.

      Threadjack for people like Amakudari, Ken Schulz, and Johnny Longtorso: In the SS thread yesterday, there was a lot of geezer whining about their benefits being cut and that the fair thing would be to pay out to everybody right now what they had paid in. Just counting those contributors still living, how much money would it take to pay off everybody with no interest added? Thanks.

      1. Why no interest added? And what one paid in should be adjusted for the monetary inflation that has occured during all that time as well.

  10. It is California. It is not like Rand Paul is going to be winning out there. And it is Barbara Boxer. If there is a worse Senator than her I would like to know who it is. Unless Fiorina calls for putting people in ovens, it is hard to imagine her not being an improvement. And she probably is about as good as you can expect from the voters in America’s dumbest state.

    1. “It is California. It is not like Rand Paul is going to be winning out there.”

      The current governor of California is more libertarian than Rand Paul. A fiscal conservative with liberal social positions would have a good shot at beating Boxer.

      1. That was Campbell. But in this state (even as liberal is it is), most republicans are very socially conservative too. So we always get wing-nuts on both sides to choose from.

      2. The current governor of California is more libertarian than Rand Paul.
        WHAT THE FUCKITY-FUCK!!.1.12 Schwarz is a disaster-gulped the green kool-aid and buries the state in red ink.

      3. The current governor of California is more libertarian than Rand Paul

        What, did someone replace Arnold and not tell me about it? WTF are you talking about?


  11. Beyond party affiliation & temperament (Boxer), there is no difference between both of these candidates. Fiorina is your garden-variety, big-government Republican who supported TARP & other assorted bailouts-government solutions.

    All of these GOP groupies who praise her now will be the same ones complaining about her votes next year. Here comes TARP #2, Stimulus #3, 4, 5 along with Obamacare Part Deux. Carly will vote in favor of all of them!

  12. This is one of those races where I really wish they could both lose.


  13. I just don’t think the Californian electorate is ready to elect a woman responsible for destroying so many Californian lives and dreams!!

  14. When has protectionism not worked for the U.S.? If you look at economic history, those who advocate free-trade are on the losing side (Republicans used to be very much for protectionism). From 1869-1900 tariffs were above 40% while from 1969-2000 they were below 10%. From 1869 to 1900 GNP quadrupled while real wages increased 50 percent, and retail prices dropped significantly. Under free trade a century later real wages declined. Real wages of most Americans peaked in 1973 and are down since. In addition, there has been zero net job creation for 10 years. Boxer wins.

    1. Idiot. Even assuming your numbers are true, the level of international trade in the late 1800s was so small that a 40% tariff would have little influence on the economy overall, given that the vast majority of growth was domestic. In short, you’re comparing world economies that were dramatically different. You should look into the causes of the Great Depression, including the Smoot Hawley Tariff Act, which resulted in a 50% reduction of American exports, destroying an untold number of jobs.

  15. Hey Timmy, you must have missed all the recent news re: the defense appropriation bill. The DREAM Act *is* federal legislation:

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