This is not Carly Fiorina's year

Recently I and others have questioned Carly Fiorina’s commitment to the race to defeat Barbara Boxer in 2010. She won’t fund her own race with her deep pockets, which was supposed to be a key reason to nominate her. She also won’t show up to the California Republican Party meeting in Indian Wells this month (starting today, in fact)*. Her candidacy so far has been characterized as “amateurish”.

Fiorina now says cancer treatment is the reason for her evasiveness so far. And while nobody wishes she would skimp on her cancer treatment, or hope for anything less than a full recovery for her, I join Pejman Yousefzadeh in being skeptical of this explanation.

I am skeptical for two reasons. The first is the reason Pejman gives: if Ms. Fiorina is capable of virtually attending an anti-cancer summit via video feed, surely she could at least do the same for her limping Senate campaign? She has strong leadership support for her campaign, and surely could have gotten this accomodation had she put in the effort.

Secondly, I have been sent a recent itinerary of hers. If she could join former President Clinton in Milan, Italy for a business conference, surely she could make at least one day trip to Indian Wells to address the Republicans who are to give blood, sweat, tears, and money to get her elected over an entrenched incumbent Senator? I hear Southwest Airlines has many flights from the Bay Area down here running all day long.

I hesitate to write this, because I naturally am gunshy over her cancer. Mark Kilmer taught me more about cancer than I ever wanted to know, unfortunately. It is possible to be strong, unflinching, and productive while enduring cancer treatment, and a relapse can be swift and brutal. I wish her a full and complete recovery.

But at the same time, Ms. Fiorina cannot expect to win this race that way. She may get some of us in the primary to pull our punches due to the way we feel for her in this troubling time, but the unions, the press, and the Democrats will not. If she is going to be able to win this election, she must be confident enough in her health to give her all, and she must show us now that she is capable of doing it.

Because if she can’t win the general, I echo Pejman and wish that she would sit this one out, give her cancer treatment her all, and return another year. In the meantime she could take up writing or radio, engaging Republicans and selling herself to the base as well as the party leadership. Perhaps in time she could challenge Senator Feinstein, or maybe even try for a House seat.

But this does not appear to be Carly Fiorina’s year.

* I would attend but I am a) sick, b) usually must get around on foot, and c) am 60 miles of desert terrain away. Trips like that require special reasons and arrangements, and are just out of the question when battling a cold and after the closed primary amendment was withdrawn.