How conservative is Carly Fiorina?


Since the last debate, Carly Fiorina has been the flavor du jour among Republicans who have concluded that the zeitgeist demands an outsider and who are beside themselves at the possibility that the outsider might be Donald Trump. RedState is in a unique position to discuss this because in 2010 we supported Chuck Devore in the Republican primary against Carly Fiorina.

While Fiorina made a full-throated defense of life at the debate her previous views on the subject were radically different.

For instance, back in 2004, Fiorina was described this way by the San Jose Mercury:

A person familiar with Fiorina’s intentions said she has long harbored a desire to get into politics, but doesn’t want to reveal her aspirations because she doesn’t want to be perceived as less than dedicated to her job at HP.Republican insiders said Fiorina, whom they described as a moderate and pro-choice, is a rare breed, and she could have a bright future in politics.

In 2008, she acted as a [mc_name name=’Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000303′ ] surrogate.

Trying to ease the Columbus women’s fears about McCain’s pro-life views, Fiorina claimed the senator “has never signed on to efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade.” (McCain said in 2007 he thought Roe “should be overturned.”)


The McCain campaign welcomed delegates to Denver with a new ad Monday, showing Debra Bartoshevich, a self-described “proud Hillary Clinton Democrat,” announcing that she opposes Barack Obama and will vote for [mc_name name=’Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000303′ ]. To back up the message, Republicans arranged a press-conference in Denver Monday morning with Bartoshevich and other Clinton supporters, who are all now backing McCain.

Midway through the event, Bartoschevich was asked if she was concerned about McCain’s pro-life voting record. At a podium paid for by the Republican National Committee, with McCain aide Carly Fiorina standing nearby, Bartoschevich said this:

Going back to 1999, [mc_name name=’Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000303′ ] did an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle saying that overturning Roe v. Wade would not make any sense, because then women would have to have illegal abortions.

Erick had this to say:

We endorsed Chuck DeVore in the GOP California Senate primary over Carly Fiorina. We did so because of DeVore’s proven record of staunch conservatism — which he continues fighting for now, having just helped kill a California open-carry ban — but also because we didn’t really trust or know anything about Fiorina. Carly’s conservative record was thin to nonexistent, and there were many troubling signs that she held liberal views. From her praise of Jesse Jackson, to her playing the race and gender cards against DeVore, to her support for the Wall Street bailouts, to her qualified support for the Obama stimulus, to her past support for taxation of sales on the Internet, to her waffling on immigration, to her support for Sonia Sotomayor, to her Master’s thesis advocating greater federal control of local education, to her past support for weakening California’s Proposition 13, to her statement to the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board that Roe v. Wade is “a decided issue,” Carly Fiorina’s oft-repeated claim to be a “lifelong conservative” was only plausible in the universe of NRSC staffers who recruited her in the first place.During the primary, Fiorina aggressively positioned herself to the right, aided by millions in self-funding and the support of a DC-based network more interested in her money and her connections than in any conservative principles.

While Fiorina has been called the right outsider, there is no critique of Donald Trump’s political positions that can’t be made of hers.

To a great extent, Fiorina is a clone of Rudy Giuliani: a fairly liberal Republican with some good features.

Though we look askance at Trump when he suddenly become pro-life, we see that Fiorina had a come-to-Jesus moment on the same issue. Unlike Trump, she seems to have been politically pro-abort, acting as McCain’s surrogate to assuage fears among embittered pro-Hillary women that McCain was wooing in 2008. Was she a Judas-goat, deceiving these women? Or was she pro-abort? We sort of have to take it on faith that she isn’t yet another “5th Avenue liberal” to use a phrase that has gotten a lot of traffic recently and has legitimately changed.

To a lesser extent we can apply the same test to Ben Carson. Only last year, Carson seemed to be in favor of gun control:

“It depends on where you live. I think if you live in the midst of a lot of people, and I’m afraid that that semi-automatic weapon is going to fall into the hands of a crazy person, I would rather you not have it.”

Is his conversion to being pro-Second Amendment a result of better informing himself? Or is he just saying this because he knows gun control is a Third Rail in GOP politics?

To me it seem patently wrong, in fact it is silly, to say that Trump is a liberal, even though he has never campaigned for anything, and claim he hasn’t changed his positions but is merely deceiving us when, on the other hand, Carly Fiorina gets rave reviews even though she campaigned for a US Senate seat as a very liberal Republican a mere four years ago against a RedState endorsed candidate. While Trump may have donated to New York Democrats, Fiorina seems to be a favorite of the NRSC and the same nice folks that gave you the [mc_name name=’Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C000567′ ] campaign. Is one of these worse than the other?

There are a lot of good reasons to support Fiorina but exactly none of reasons are her consistently held positions. Could she have “evolved”? Sure. And I have no reason to doubt that she has but that is a matter of FAITH not FACT. But if you choose to believe President Fiorina would govern as a conservative you lose your ability to claim President Trump would govern as a liberal and be taken seriously.

With Trump, Carson, and Fiorina in the race we could, with a lot of justification, call this the “Shiny Object Primary.” All of them are actually political cyphers. No one know what any of them believes because they have never had to act upon their beliefs inside the government. I don’t know what the standard is for making a decision other than using your own prudential judgment.