Why I Want Ex-HP CEO Carly Fiorina to Run for U.S. President in 2016

Rob Enderle

As we ended 2014, I was made aware of the fact that ex-HP CEO Carly Fiorina may have plans to run for president on the Republican ticket in 2106. Now, you may be thinking that you have been celebrating too much this week and this entire post is simply the hallucination that resulted. No such luck. I actually think her running would be a good thing.

At the Examiner, writer James George compares Fiorina to current HP CEO Meg Whitman unfavorably, but Whitman ran against an ancient politician with the nickname “Moonbeam” for an open seat (no incumbent) and committed political suicide during the election. Fiorina was running against an incumbent in the state’s power party and executed far better, though she too lost. Watching both women perform I think, in a political race, Fiorina is actually stronger.

Fiorina is (or was) a moderate Republican, so strong on financial controls and low taxes, very strong on women’s rights (often seen as unusual for any Republican), a very good debater, and surprisingly smart (which is often refreshing in a politician).

As we get over our indulgences this week, let’s talk about Carly Fiorina for President.


Most of Us Live in the Middle

Watching U.S. politics is like watching tennis being played by two very uncoordinated and mentally challenged players, each trying to smash the ball over the net from the base line but neither capable of actually hitting the ball.

A moderate tends to hit more of us where we actually live and Fiorina is a moderate Republican. This means she’ll likely seem far more reasonable in her positions and likely help pull the Republican party, through the primary process, more toward the more reasonable middle. That could give them a stronger chance of winning since, historically, the party that has the most trouble finding the middle loses.

Debates Will Be More Fun

Often, watching political debates is like watching food cool. Debates aren’t very interesting and neither side actually listens to the other because the parties stink at debating. They each recite their prepared lines and don’t seem to even hear what the other one says.

Fiorina is very good on her feet and she is strong presenter. I’ve generally felt that with a little product focus, she could have been far more like Steve Jobs than anyone else I’ve seen on stage. That means she could be very successful in debates and provide a sharp contrast to the other players, who often can’t even seem to remember their primary platforms.

I’d pay good money to see her debate either Sarah Palin or Hillary Clinton. The first would be really entertaining; the second would be fascinating to watch.

Business Strategy

Gets the Importance of Tech

President Obama was supposed to be the “tech president,” but turned out to just understand how to get good people who could do great election analytics. When it came to understanding the importance of the industry, or even how to use technology successfully in government, he turned out to be as clueless as his predecessors.

Fiorina spent her life working for tech companies and she gets the global importance of this industry and how important it is for it to stay in the U.S. She’d likely help advocate leadership in everything from self-driving cars to Maglev trains. I’ll bet she’d also champion new and interesting weapons systems, though there’d be some risk that some of them might not work. But in running, she’d likely help force the other candidates to look at the tech market more seriously and at least talk about protecting it more vigorously.

Can She Win?

These are really long odds. Her history at HP works against her, as does her lack of political experience. This last is the more problematic because government doesn’t work like business. You can’t just order Congress around and have them do what you want, even if your party controls it (President Obama showcased this in the short two years his party controlled Congress and didn’t progress much). So even if she did win, and she could easily be the smartest person on the ticket, she doesn’t have the experience to do the job. I wonder if she’d even really want it once she got it. She might make an interesting vice president, if she can capture enough votes and then, next cycle, who knows?

Wrapping Up: Fiorina for President

Because Fiorina is smart and a moderate, I think her running for president will improve, and certainly make far more interesting, the debates and town halls that surround the election process. I think it is unlikely that she could get elected and very unlikely that she could actually do the job if she were, largely because she has no real political experience. But I also think she’d make a stronger VP than what we otherwise might get, so I’m pleased that she is thinking of running.

Sadly, we could actually do worse for president -- something that has already been demonstrated several times over the last two decades.

Rob Enderle is President and Principal Analyst of the Enderle Group, a forward-looking emerging technology advisory firm.  With over 30 years’ experience in emerging technologies, he has provided regional and global companies with guidance in how to better target customer needs; create new business opportunities; anticipate technology changes; select vendors and products; and present their products in the best possible light. Rob covers the technology industry broadly. Before founding the Enderle Group, Rob was the Senior Research Fellow for Forrester Research and the Giga Information Group, and held senior positions at IBM and ROLM. Follow Rob on Twitter @enderle, on Facebook and on Google+



Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jan 5, 2015 9:46 AM Karl Karl  says:
18,000 people lost their jobs because of her. As an engineer, I will only vote against her. Voting against her was the the only reason I voted during her race. How many engineers would vote for her? Why should anyone with a job vote for a layoff queen that testifies in front of congress that she is right sizing. Let's not vote for failed executives who drive companies and employees into financial failure. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Why wouldn't Fiiorina right size the nation's opportunities after testifying as much in front of Congress and getting a mandate from citizens that they want to be right sized? http://news.cnet.com/Fiorina-10,000-layoffs-by-Nov.-1/2100-1014_3-931718.html Reply
Jan 5, 2015 1:22 PM Powerpeace Powerpeace  says:
I think she would be good too. She has spunk to go at one of the 2 queens of California for her Senate seat. I do not think she would be gung ho on war either. The next 2 years are going to be very interesting because the GOP is all divided and some have no idea what to do. They are like Peacocks. They are more concerned that everyone sees how pretty they are and do not ask for too many details. Reply
Jan 5, 2015 5:02 PM brad brad  says:
"on the Republican ticket in 2106". Hopefully, she'll wait that long before running. Under her watch at HP, the company was driven to the brink of bankruptcy, thousands of folks lost their jobs, and she exited with a $20 Million golden parachute Thanks, but no thanks! Reply
Jan 7, 2015 6:34 AM Matt Matt  says: in response to Karl
@ Rob Enderle - I disagree with your endorsemen - CF drove that company into bankruptcy, in fact I would argue that if she were never hired in that role, HP would still be a viable business. You can vote for whomever you choose, but I would vote against her. Reply
Jan 7, 2015 5:46 PM jim jim  says:
Oh my god you cannot be serious. This person single handily destroyed two iconic companies. Because of her, tens of billions of dollars were lost and scores of people lost their jobs. God help us from idiots like you Reply
Jan 8, 2015 7:19 AM Maximo Maximo  says:
Carly Fiorina is a non performer and has no skill. She took HP and Compaq and almost bankrupted them. She is a former CEO for good reason! Since then she has only dwindled her fortune and sunk into obscurity. Reply
Jan 8, 2015 9:20 AM bugmom bugmom  says:
You want CF to lead this country? CF walked into HP to a worldwide workforce loyal and eager to to just about anything for the good of the company -- and excited for a woman CEO. She could have mustered this army of workers to do great things if she had any leadership skills. Instead, she instantly alienated everyone, made poor decisions and started the downfall of the once great company. Billions lost, jobs lost, HP lost. Why would you ever put her in charge of our country????? Reply
Jan 27, 2015 8:21 AM NOYB NOYB  says: in response to jim
I agree with many against Carly. Like Jim said, she destroyed two iconic companies. I Reply
Dec 21, 2015 9:29 AM psteve psteve  says:
Enderle proves himself to be every bit as good at his political commentary as he is at his technology and business commentary. Reply

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