Today, both Carly Fiorina and Dr. Ben Carson announced that they’re running for President, Carly on ABC’s Good Morning America, and Ben in front of a hometown crowd in Detroit. The Republican field is now looking intensely crowded, and there are still several candidates expected to throw their hats in the ring who have yet to officially declare their Presidential intentions.
Of the two that announced this morning, Fiorina had the more aggressive campaign kickoff, launching her program by literally shutting down Hillary Clinton.
“I am running for president. I think I am the best person for the job because I understand how the economy actually works,” she said.
“Our nation was intended to be a citizen government. … [Americans] believe we need to return to a citizen government, and so, I think it’s totally reasonable to look outside the political class.”
In her official campaign launch video, Fiorina took aim directly at Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton. Fiorina is seen sitting in a living room watching a television with Clinton’s own campaign announcement video playing.
Fiorina then abruptly shuts off the TV, cutting Clinton off. She then looks directly into the camera and says, “Our Founders never intended us to have a professional political class.”
“The only way to reimagine our government is to reimagine who is leading it,” she says in the video. “If you’re tired of the sound bites, the vitriol, the pettiness, the ego, the corruption — if you believe it’s time to declare the end of identity politics, if you believe that it’s time to declare the end of lowered expectations, if you believe that it’s time for citizens to stand up to the political class and say, ‘Enough.’ Then join us.”
I don’t know that either have a real chance of snagging the nomination. Carson is well placed as a conservative commentator, as he can speak confidently on the economic impact of Obama’s policies on both healthcare and the minority community, but a Presidential campaign will give him a platform to amplify that message – and to, hopefully, make a compelling case to underserved demographics that there is meat to Republican principles that could have a real, positive impact. While I was, once, reticent about Carson being pushed into political office too quickly, if he avoids the potholes he’s already fallen into a couple of times, he could be a valuable resource. Unfortuantely, I think some of his recent comments, on various, controversial topics, have made him difficult to endorse for a GOP ticket.
Fiorina presents an opportunity that Republicans have seldom had: a woman who can speak clearly on economic subjects, and who is known mostly for her contributions outside politics rather than on the floor of Congress. While previous female candidates have been strong, almost all of them have built their reputations on strong ideological principles, not real world experience. While Fiorina’s time at HP is controversial, her status as a female CEO is a rare one, and she has already proven that she can speak with authority on even social issues without compromising herself with outlandish rhetoric. Like Carson, she can speak confidently to a demographic the GOP desperately needs.
I don’t think either really believes they’ll be President, though there is still years to go in this race. But here’s one thing they give the GOP that is absent from the Democratic field: real diversity. Even though the GOP field is overcrowded – already – there are only a few of the expected old white dudes. You have immigrants, kids of immigrants, libertarians, women and minorities. And the Democrats have Hillary Clinton. Who is about as close as you can get to an old white dude without actually being an old white dude. I suppose they also have Bernie Sanders, which counts as diversity if you consider that he’s possibly an alien, and they might have Elizabeth Warren, who could be our nation’s first Native American President. If you don’t count the part where she actually isn’t a Native American, just an old white woman who used a farfetched version of her own ancestry to qualify as an affirmative action hire.
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