I find it interesting that both Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson are announcing their presidential bids today.
Neither candidate has ever held political office and I suspect if either of them had they wouldn’t announce their candidacy for the highest office in the land on the same day. By announcing on the same day both have cancelled each other out in terms of press coverage thus minimizing the impact of their respective announcements.
Of the two, I’d say Fiorina will make the bigger impact in the GOP race. Fiorina has generally been well received and exceeded expectations whenever she’s had the opportunity to speak to conservative crowds.
I do think Debra J. Saunders syndicated column (which was featured here at TAS last December) raises some concerns. Fiorina still owes people money from her failed 2010 campaign to unseat the soon to be retired California Senator Barbara Boxer. Saunders wrote, “When HP fired Fiorina, she walked away with a $21 million golden handshake. But when Fiorina lost the Senate race, some of her employees didn’t get a handshake. They got a finger.”
Then again most people don’t give a damn what happens to political operatives. If Fiorina shines on the stump and during the debates she could be the GOP’s dark horse candidate. At the very minimum, she will be on the shortlist of VP running mates. Fiorina has been an attack dog against Hillary Clinton and the VP slot would be a perfect forum for her to leave a mark on Hillary.
Which Ben Carson will show up on the campaign trail? Will it be the Ben Carson who got everyone’s attention at the Presidential Prayer Breakfast a couple of years back? Will it be the Ben Carson who has been the voice of reason on vaccines and who has spoken eloquently in the aftermath of the Baltimore riots? Or will it be the Ben Carson who compares America to Nazi Germany, says being in prison makes you gay and calls President Obama a psychopath?
Now I realize there a lot of conservatives who think Obama is a psychopath. But keep in this mind. If a Republican is going to win the White House then he or she will have to convince people who voted for Obama (possibly twice) to put cast a GOP ballot. I’m not talking about hard core Democrats here. I’m talking about hard working people who don’t like politics because of the mudslinging. They might think if you call Obama a psychopath that you’re also calling them psychopaths too. It’s one thing to be tough on Obama, it’s another to describe as something normally associated with murderers.
Although Carson has generated excitement I’m not sure this will translate to votes. I think he has a shot in Iowa, but socially conservative voters will be split among him and 2008 Iowa Caucus winner Mike Huckabee who is due to enter the race tomorrow. Then there’s also a strong possibility that 2012 Iowa Caucus winner Rick Santorum will throw his sweater vest into the ring soon as well. I think Ben Carson will be a footnote in the 2016 GOP race.
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