Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina: The 'Outsider' for Establishment Conservatives?

Try to name a position she holds that is not solidly attached to the right.


Down with the establishment! Up with everything the establishment believes!
Credit: Gage Skidmore / photo on flickr

Today Yahoo News has an interview with Carly Fiorina noting that the Republican presidential candidate is a defender of waterboarding as an interrogation tool. In addition, in the wake of Sept. 11, she, as then-CEO of Hewlitt-Packard, sent trucks of computer servers to the National Security Agency (NSA) to help them implement its secretive warrantless wiretapping programs. She also defends that decision, but she also calls for greater "transparency" from the CIA. From Yahoo News:

"I believe that all of the evidence is very clear — that waterboarding was used in a very small handful of cases [and] was supervised by medical personnel in every one of those cases," Fiorina told Yahoo News. "And I also believe that waterboarding was used when there was no other way to get information that was necessary."

A Senate report last year portrayed waterboarding as "near drownings" that were tantamount to torture and concluded that the agency's often brutal interrogations produced little actionable intelligence. But Fiorina rejected those conclusions, calling the report "disingenuous" and "a shame" that "undermined the morale of a whole lot of people who dedicated their lives to keeping the country safe."

I read the full Senate report and wrote about it multiple times. As I noted at the time, several waterboarding incidents were actually to confirm that their targets didn't have additional information. There was no sign the waterboarding actually provided any information the CIA didn't get through other means, and there is allegedly still-classified internal CIA report, referred to as the "Panetta Report" after former CIA chief Leon Panetta, that validates the findings of the Senate report.

Here's Fiorina on helping provide servers for the NSA to set up its surveillance systems, though she didn't know exactly what they'd be for at the time:

Fiorina acknowledged she complied with Hayden's request, redirecting trucks of HP computer servers that were on their way to retail stores from a warehouse in Tennessee to the Washington Beltway, where they were escorted by NSA security to the gates of agency headquarters in Fort Meade, Md.

"I felt it was my duty to help, and so we did," Fiorina said. "They were ramping up a whole set of programs and needed a lot of data crunching capability to try and monitor a whole set of threats. …What I knew at the time was our nation had been attacked."

After Hayden became CIA director in 2006, he named Fiorina as chair of an agency external advisory board consisting of former top intelligence officials, generals and business leaders. In that capacity, she made regular trips to CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., including overseeing one specific project requested by Hayden: Provide advice on how the CIA could maintain its undercover espionage mission in a culture of increasing government leaks and demands for greater public accountability and openness.

Remarkably, one of Fiorina's suggestions was to make a spokesperson out of a man later accused (but never charged) of destroying the videotapes that showed the waterboarding of two detainees. He later went on to contribute to the recently released Rebuttal, written by former officials defending the CIA's practices during the war.

The latest presidential poll by NBC and the Wall Street Journal has Fiorina tied in third place with Sen. Marco Rubio. They both are pulling 11 percent of the vote. Donald Trump and Ben Carson still lead with 21 and 20 percent of the vote respectively. That means three of the four top candidates are bearing the "outsider" label.

But there's actually little of Fiorina's policy proposals or the arguments that she has presented in debates that actually mark her as an "outsider" among Republicans. Trump and Carson obviously bear the outsider brand well. Not only do they not seem to know how the sausage is made, they don't care. It is a point of pride, both for them and for their supporters.

Fiorina is obviously politically experienced without having actually held public office. Her stated positions mark her clearly, unambiguously as a conservative. In fact, I'm hard-pressed to find a single position or policy she's put forth that couldn't have come out of the mouths of "insiders" Jeb Bush or Rubio (though feel free to correct me if I've missed something).

Ultimately Fiorina is benefitting somewhat from having an "outsider" status while holding many of the same positions as "insiders" whom she's currently beating in the polls. This may end up mattering when we consider the utter failure and eventual resignation of GOP House Speaker John Boehner. Establishment Republicans are being tarred heavily for being largely ineffective in office. Fiorina is avoiding that problem, even though what she holds are actually very mainstream Republican positions. She is quite possibly the candidate for establishment-minded Republicans to demonstrate their frustrations about party failure without having to abandon their core principles.

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77 responses to “Carly Fiorina: The 'Outsider' for Establishment Conservatives?

  1. “Try to name a position she holds”


    1. I don’t think the Reason staff is quite getting it.

      What we are seeing, in both parties, isn’t a pre-primary election that is about policy and positions and all that wonky shit (which, well, let’s say its arguable whether it makes a difference in how they actually govern, anyway).

      This is something else: in both parties, the Establishment is being rejected, pretty goddam hard, by the grassroots.

      Stop thinking this is “pro-immigration” v “racist nativists” or “pro-socialism” v. “economic literates”. This isn’t Red v Blue, or Red Faction A v Red Faction B, event.

      This is the governing class v the governed.

      1. That’s what I’m seeing as well as hearing. Consider the personalities, not the policies, because that’s what respondents are considering.

        In a political meeting last night, the chairman (who’s great at doing politics & therefore thinks he’s an expert at judging politics) said Trump’s polls couldn’t stand up because he won’t pick up support from supporters of other candidates as they drop out, and gave Christie as an example of such a candidate. Why wouldn’t a good chunk of Christie’s supporters switch to Trump? They support Christie because he’s an asshole, so they’ll easily switch to another asshole such as Trump. It may help that Trump’s policy vector is well away from that of most of the GOP, as is Christie’s (and that they’re pointing in approx. the same direction as each other), but that’s a minor consider’n compared to personalities.

        1. I’m not sure its even personalities as much as . . . wait for it . . . what team the candidate is on.

          I don’t think its Red v Blue, or even conservative v moderate. I think its shaping up as governing class v governed. Now, the unhappy “governed” in each party tend to align with various non-moderate/establishment policy/ideology positions, which I think is what’s masking the real underlying dynamic.

          I don’t think its “OMG! The electorate is getting more extreme! Where’s the moderate middle?” so much as it should be “OMG! the electorate is getting less tolerant of establishment/governing class horseshit.”

      2. It’s biz-as-usual vs. everybody & everything else.

      3. i disagree. i think you have to separate what’s happening within the parties themselves and what’s happening with the rest of the electorate. there’s some overlap, but in both parties, it’s much more a representation of not being conservative or liberal enough, much more than it’s genuine change versus the status quo. trump may seem like an exception, but i think he’s only a picture of how blind the rage is rather than anything else. all those years of the left or right flirting with a candidate in the primaries, only to drop him when the race got serious for someone “who could win” has boiled over. both sides have always secretly believed they were being lied to when they were told their “flavor of the month” couldn’t win, and now they might insist on proving it for better or worse.

  2. Attempting to help with security immediatly after 9/11 is not going to be perceived as anything but favorable. Quite frankly the waterboarding comments probably are not going to hurt her either

  3. Fiorina acknowledged she complied with Hayden’s request, redirecting trucks of HP computer servers that were on their way to retail stores from a warehouse in Tennessee to the Washington Beltway…

    So that’s where my servers went.

  4. Try to name a position she holds that is not solidly attached to the right.

    Reverse cowgirl.

    1. John Boehner and Lindsey Graham are both staunch advocates of that position.

  5. Whatever Shackford, You’re just jealous because Carly has the courage to stand up and say that she’s against those things that everybody hates.

    1. So, so brave!

    2. Now, I respect Hugh. I think he’s a good man. But frankly, I agree with everything he just said!

        1. Sorry Epi, your three cent titanium tax goes too far.

          1. No, Hugh. I doesn’t go too far enough.

            1. Think you mean, “It doesn’t.”

              I’m meeting you halfway, you stupid hippy!

              1. Only weirdos and mutants join third parties.

                1. Really? I’d better keep an eye out at the next meeting.

    3. Scott thinks she’s a good woman. but, quite frankly, he agrees with everything she just said!

  6. She is quite possibly the candidate for establishment-minded Republicans to demonstrate their frustrations about party failure without having to abandon their core principles.

    Establishment-minded Republicans don’t have core principles per se. If by core principles you mean those things they rhetorically support. Much in the same way that a bacterium will respond to external stimuli without having any understanding of the stimuli or why they are responding the way they do, they just do.

    1. You know what else responds to external stimuli.

        1. Shoot that thang up with some cocaine cigarettes and be gay!

  7. Try to name a position she holds that is not solidly attached to the right
    As far as I know, she’s not in favor of rape camps or gleefully snatching bread from the mouths of orphans. She’s also not currently a CEO, so she doesn’t have a vast secret payment network for those teabaggers

    1. As far as I know, she’s not in favor of rape camps or gleefully snatching bread from the mouths of orphans

      She has a R next to her name, so yes she is.

  8. I’m hard-pressed to find a single position or policy she’s put forth that couldn’t have come out of the mouths of “insiders” Jeb Bush or Rubio (though feel free to correct me if I’ve missed something).

    But she’s still better than Bush! She’s entertaining in debates, so she must be better.

    1. Speaking of debates.

      Boy, I’m sure looking forward to a Trump, Carly and Jeb “debate”.

      1. I just hope we finally learn what each candidate thinks about the gossip the other candidates are saying about them. Where I come from we call that the “brass tacks.”

        1. The important thing is that they are not asked any relevant questions about any issues that the next president might actually have to deal with.

        2. Question one: If you saw delicious candy in the hands of a small child, would you seize and consume it?

          1. Yes, I would also eat the candy.

          2. The question is… is vague. You don’t say what kind of candy, whether anyone is watching or… At any rate, I certainly wouldn’t harm the child.

            1. You’ve got real charisma from the neck down.

        3. Where I come from we call that the “brass tacks.”

          Must be a regional thing. Around these parts, those are the “bra stacks”.

  9. Hewlett-Packard.

    1. At least it wasn’t Gateway.

  10. “In fact, I’m hard-pressed to find a single position or policy she’s put forth that couldn’t have come out of the mouths of “insiders” Jeb Bush or Rubio (though feel free to correct me if I’ve missed something).”

    The only thing I would correct is the assumptions behind it. You are aware that she’s running for the nomination of the Republican party, right? What do you expect from a candidate running for the Republican nomination?

    Yes, she’s tailored her positions to mostly match those of the voters she hopes will nominate her. That’s what presidential candidates do.

    One position I would throw out for consideration as not necessarily being in the Republican mainstream–she came out in favor of letting the states decide whether to legalize marijuana. That isn’t half bad. I believe she was one of only three candidates to do so.

  11. OT: Whole Foods in trouble?

    The magnitude of the job cuts, which will happen over the next eight weeks, are unprecedented at Whole Foods and come as the company invests in technology upgrades and tries to shed its reputation for high prices.

    I guess a business model that relies largely on signalling can be pretty fragile as the economy tightens, huh?

    1. I shop there occasionally. Only for a few specialty items, and their milk is the best price of any store in MD that I know of. Also, occasionally, they will have some quality fresh oysters on sale to take home and shuck.

      Their problem is that they are just too fucking expensive. Fresh Market is expensive too, but the quality is there, whereas with Whole Foods, not always so much.

      1. Yeah, rarely go there. Did stop by a few weeks ago for fresh figs which I can find no where else. Also picked up some Crabby’s Ginger Beer which someone here recommended. Quite lovely.

    2. I doubt that that is what it is. They’ve been at the top of their niche for a while and some serious players are gunning for them; food just costs more because of (presumably) inflation; and let’s face it, within whatever signaling/boutique-brand scheme that they may have, Whole Foods has lost some of that cache because Mackey spoke out in favor of business and free markets and the like.

      If you want to keep those types of customers, you have to play their game, and their game is often so stupid that I can see a smart business just getting sick of it.

      1. It will be interesting to see how they do. We have a bunch of smaller, high-end groceries here and they all seem to be in varying stages of distress. I think cost-consciousness has returned.

        1. If you want to maintain a high end market like that, you have to put it in an area where people have money to burn. Both Fresh Market and Whole Foods here in my neighborhood always have full parking lots, they don’t seem to be distressed at all.

        2. The thing is, cost consciousness *should* have returned a while ago; it’s not as if prices haven’t been going up steadily, along with sneaky tax and fine and health care cost increases all over the place. If it’s only happening now and it’s what’s causing Whole Foods’ distress, that’s very odd.

          I bet they’re just another big company that realizes it’s been doing some things stupidly for a while and they need to trim the sails.

          1. We shop at the Asian markets for most of our meat and nearly all of our produce, and also buy a lot of stuff at Walmart. But if I want certain things, like a high quality cut of beef to grill, then I’m obviously not going to get this at one of those places, I’ll just go to Fresh Market for that and pay the premium price.

            But just for the sake of cost consciousness talk, it’s like this, I’m not going to pay 1.69 a lb for the same Roma tomatoes I can buy at the Asian market for .49 a lb., even though I can afford to do it, because it’s stupid.

            1. Yeah, laat time I went to Asian market I could not believe what I could chives for. Among other things.

            2. Yeah, the Asian markets can be great, as well as Mexican markets. But food has been continuously climbing in price for years. I can’t believe people are just starting to notice now.

            3. @Hyperion:

              COSTCO rib eye steaks are the best on the grill. At least the ones here in the SF Bay Area.

              They offer both choice and prime grades. Pricey but worth every penny.

      2. Their customer base are annoying. I can’t hardly stand going in there because of that. Bunch of aging hippies with attitude.

        The workers however are pretty much the best and most friendly that I’ve seen anywhere. I bet they want to kill themselves by the time their shift is over.

        1. My neighbor was recently forced out of a good job at a university. At age 62 he soon found out he wasn’t going to be hired for anything similar in his lifetime.

          He ended up with some sort of administrative position at corporate offices in Berkeley.

          He is a quiet, milquetoast kind of a guy. He’s anything but a Hippie. Never was.

          But, he is the epitome of Berkeley and I’m sure he fits in well with the Whole Foods crowd.

  12. She’s just the female version of the standard conservative Repulcian, IOW, pro-war, pro-drug war, pro 2nd, pro-business, pro-militarized police state, pro-surveillance state. What’s there not to love?

    Look, if you’re going to keep a 2nd amendment and have a pro-business administration, then you just have to accept perpetual war, massive civil rights violations, and a complete militarized police/security state.

    It’s a package deal, sort of like cable TV. You glibertarians don’t understand how the world works. You can’t have everything you want, you crazies!

    1. “you just have to accept perpetual war, massive civil rights violations, and a complete militarized police/security state”

      That really applies to both parties.

      1. Yes, but the Democrat voters are convinced that this is not the case with their team. Well, they really don’t believe it and are full of shit, but they’ll swear to it until the very end.

        I was surprised when I was lurking on a thread over at WaPo a couple weeks ago when a team blue poster actually pointed out the fact that unlike Democrats, a lot of Republicans also hate most politicians in their own party. He went on to lament the fact that his fellow team blue voters will accept pretty much anyone and anything as long as it has a D after it’s name, but felt that it’s not going to change and that voting Republican is just not a real alternative.

        1. True believers.

        2. It is lamentable that there is only one sane choice between two viable parties. That may damage the country and Democrats both, but it’s not Democrats’ fault. Republicans have to win votes by appealing to people, you know. And they’ve chosen to appeal to stupid white christians to the exclusion of everyone else. What would you do, assuming you had the remotest pragmatic impulse?

          1. Concern troll has concerns.

            Speaking pragmatically and impulsively, I’d have you fed to a woodchipper and sell the resulting drum of slurry to a petfood manufacturer, or feed it to my urchins.

            That would be my impulse.

      2. It certainly does apply on both sides, just switch the likes & dislikes.

    2. It is. I’ve long wondered whether any path-independent scheme explains the particular packaging.

      Things that do seem to go together from that list psychologically is pro-2nd & pro-militarized police, because they’re both about guns. People either like guns or dislike them. If they like them, they tend to like them used & shown a lot, whether by police or anyone else. Same w war; like guns, like shooting, so like war.

      I didn’t make it this way, I just observe.

      1. Your observations are nonsensical. It’s sad you get to vote others into slavery along with you Robert.

    3. So you are a fucking idiot that has no conception of most anything, I agree.

  13. outsider insider outsider insider

    1. “What are you doing?!? Do not put peanut butter on that. No! Peanut Butter outside, chocolate inside…butter inside, cheese outside.”

      1. Are you baking your penis again?

  14. This crap is so sad. The founders must be trying to dig themselves out of their graves. Though they screwed up by forming a new government. They did it while telling people how bad it is and not to trust it……yet they instituted it anyway, even while hoping that folks will be able to govern themselves without any master.

  15. Well, her tribe has excused (or ignored) her massive bullshit about the Planned Parenthood videos, so she now has a free rein.

    The insiders are largely corrupt and the outsiders are entirely psycho. That leaves 2017 with President Sanders and a Democrat Congress. Time yet to start learning Chinese?

    1. Theres stupid and Hihn stupid, thanks for proving it bro.

      1. There’s stupid …

        But who swallowed those anti-abortion videos — with the lies totally visible to anyone who’s not a wacko socon puppet?

    2. “That leaves 2017 with President Sanders and a Democrat Congress”

      Unlikely, the Republicans are definitely keeping the House, the numbers just aren’t there for the Democrats to take it back. The Senate is possible, but some of these candidates are gonna need long political coattails to make it across the finish line, and for some reason I doubt a Socialist from Vermont has those sort of coattails.

      More likely than not its President Sanders (if he wins the nomination and the GOP pick a moron like Trump, Carson, or JEB) with a Republican Congress in 2017. Ironically this might be the best outcome for libertarians. Sanders and a Republican Congress would likely be fighting each other too much to turn around and start fucking us. At least I hope that’s how it would go.

      1. Unlikely, the Republicans are definitely keeping the House, the numbers just aren’t there for the Democrats to take it back.

        It will be a Democrat landslide if the GOP keeps committing suicide, and puts a psycho atop their ticket … like any of the current top three. Then again, if they EVER get a credible alternative to Obamacare, they MIGHT overcome the major losses on abortion.

        If only we had a libertarian ……

        1. Many of the Democrats’ losses in 2010 and 2014 were in rural and conservative areas. The so-called blue dog democrats got wiped out and numerous southern states where the Democrats were holding on to majorities went Republican. Combine that with the redistricting done by Republican Governors and state Legislatures, the House of Representatives is likely out of the Democrats reach for some time.

          “the GOP keeps committing suicide, and puts a psycho atop their ticket … like any of the current top three. Then again, if they EVER get a credible alternative to Obamacare, they MIGHT overcome the major losses on abortion.”

          That’s unless the Democrats nominate a self-declared socialist. Would Sanders beat Trump? Sure but that’s a low bar. Any of the other contenders probably have an even or better chance against Sanders (maybe with the exception of Carson: The Soft Spoken Trump). I said this before, I highly doubt a Socialist from Vermont will have the sort of pull to give the Democrats back control of Congress. Maybe a couple of seats in the Senate, but not both chambers. Sanders in 2016 is not Obama in 2008

          And as for abortion. That issue and the War on Women narrative is unlikely to work in a scenario where the Dems chose an old white guy over Hillary. Plus, this election could just as easily turn on the economy, or events abroad, if that happens no one is gonna care about the social issues.

  16. Carly is DOA. If all the other republican contenders got hit by a bus and she got nominated, even Bernie the Commie Rat Bastard could beat her just by hammering on her appalling record at HP and Lucent.


  17. So shit happened when an employee like you wasn’t very good or was unable to adapt to a new way of thinking. Tough shit bro.

    You sound like a prog . She’s not doa when she can spell out the huge waste that is fedgov.

    Federal bureaucrats are enemy number 1. Get rid of half of them to start and go from there.

    If you are a federal bureacrat John, I’m not ok with paying your salary/.

  18. It’s obviously not torture if medical personnel are present.

  19. Poosibly the saddest thing here is that Scott doesn’t seem to understand that Boehner’s out because he holds so many positions that are not solidly attached to the right.

    What the ‘right’* needs is people who will hold solidly to the positions so many take as just being rhetoric–small government, support for individual liberty–all the positions that show us why every libertarian person in congress has an R after their name.

    For too many it is just rhetoric.

    *note–I include libertarians when I use the term ‘right’ as I see conservatives and republicans as being left of libertarianism.

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