Carly Fiorina Reveals the Source of Her Failure at HP: Can’t Walk, Chew Gum at the same time/shouldn’t be a Senator edition.

So, stylist/Senatorial candidate Carly Fiorina is turning her attention away from her opponents ‘do to more serious matters.

Unfortunately, she brings the same gravitas to the question of confronting the gulf oil disaster that she did to the matter of Barbara Boxer’s hair.

The AP reports today that while she supports President Obama’s success in compelling BP to come up with a $20 billion escrow fund to cover local losses, she disapproves of another part of his handling of the crisis:

Fiorina, who is trying to unseat Democrat Barbara Boxer of California, said the president should be focused on capping the leak and cleaning up the oil, not working with Boxer on greenhouse gas legislation.

“President Obama’s emphasis right now should be on cleaning up the spill, something (Sen.) Dianne Feinstein clearly recognized when she said, ‘cap-and-trade legislation isn’t going to clean up the spill,'” Fiorina said.

Instead, she said the president is planning to meet with Boxer to discuss the climate change bill.

“I think our commander in chief’s attention should be devoted exclusively to cleaning up the spill and to making sure that the residents of the Gulf Coast receive the relief that they so desperately need,” Fiorina said after her visit to Rex Moore Electrical Contractors and Engineers in Sacramento.

Oh FSM! Where to begin?

Last time I looked, American presidents have to be able to think about more than one thing at a time — and to do so beyond the next quarter’s results.  Actually, as people have been pointing out for a while, that’s President Obama’s particular strength.

Fiorina , it seems, would rather have it that Obama do nothing but don his scuba outfit and put what one blogospheric type called his magic tampon down the Deepwater Horizon well.  (Apologies to the mystery wit; lost the link in the day’s surf madness Thanks to commenter Courtney below for pointing to the correct attribution.  We love the blogosphere. 😉

Heaven forfend that he should also think about the context of the spill:  the fact that the need to drill in conditions in some ways more difficult than those of outer space is the direct consequence of an unsustainable dependence on oil as one of our chief sources of energy.

“Cleaning up the spill” is a critical task, of course — but after organizing the executive branch to do so, while fending off GOP resistance to, say, “making sure the residents of the Gulf Coast” get the help they need, there is a limit to the number of hours Obama can usefully give to that job out of every 24.  But there is a larger concern, one with several levels — which is how to prevent repeats of the disaster.

Clearly that involves looking at what went wrong at both the drill site and in the regulatory process that allowed BP and its drilling partners/subcontractors to get away with as many shortcuts as it appears they did.  Making the drilling process work better is clearly a good thing

But there is, of course, a larger context, which is that dependence on oil as a primary energy source is a long term loser, not simply in the sense that the peak oil concept suggests, but given the fact that exploitation of oil compels us to accept risk that over time will produce various disastrous outcomes.  Bad spills, cash flows to unstable regions and hostile folks, wars from time to time are all part of the cost of oil. They aren’t “accidents,” “natural disasters” or acts of God.  They are anticipatable, if not precisely predictable outcomes of what you have to do where to get oil out of the interior of the earth. Not to mention the use of oil carries with it significant, real environmental costs (and not just global warming).

Note also this map — versions of it been making the round of  the ‘tubes lately.  Note, as many have , just how much of that fossil fuel infrastructure is concentrated around the Louisiana coast in particular, and the Gulf Coast more generally

Put all that together, it seems to me that trying to work out how to reduce the role of oil (and other fossil fuels) as energy sources is an integral part of responding to this specific catastrophe — and it even seems like it would be directly relevent to what the folks on the Gulf Coast need if a total disruption (and/or extinction) of a lot of ways of life down there isn’t going to recur every few years.

To repeat: Presidents have to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. The last GOP hopeful who denied this lost, badly, to the man now in the office that requires such mental agility.

So:  Fiorina is an idiot.

But we knew that.

I’ll leave you with the thought that what’s actually interesting about Fiorina’s inadvertent self-revelation here is that her reaction is precisely that of someone incapable of thinking past the immediate horizon — nothing matters more than hitting the next quarter’s numbers, in the context of her experience.  That’s a crappy way to run a business — and it is a much worse way to run a government.

Image:  General view of Funkville in 1864, Oil Creek, Pennsylvania

Explore posts in the same categories: bad ideas, Climate follies, Environment, Republican follies, Stupidity, Uncategorized

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14 Comments on “Carly Fiorina Reveals the Source of Her Failure at HP: Can’t Walk, Chew Gum at the same time/shouldn’t be a Senator edition.”

  1. Ted K Says:

    I’m a pretty big Jerry Brown fan. Although a closet homosexual (or at minimum a closet bisexual) I think most of his policy stances are good and he makes a sincere effort to improve society. Plus I believe he was Jesuit educated. I’m pretty negative on Catholics but, those Jesuit educated ones are usually clever as hell, you have to give them that.

    • Tom Says:


      I’m not going to delete this comment, because I have an essentially open comment policy.

      But I need to warn you. Stuff like “although a closet homosexual” is unacceptable here. I despise this kind of innuendo, and even more its obvious irrelevance to any matter at hand. Basically, the rule is that unless someone’s sexual life is germane to a genuinely public concern — or unless someone makes his or her private life an element of public identity — then this kind of statement is just bigotry.

      (I.e. — that David Vitter sleeps with prostitutes is fair game, IMHO, because of the public “family values” arguments he’s put forward to advance his political career. Jerry Brown’s sexual preference, whatever it may be, irrelevant by your own description to his policy decisions is not. This isn’t rocket science: you can work out where the line falls.)

      I know you are a regular and enthusiastic reader of this blog. You get a pass on this one. But I’ll start deleting if this stuff keeps appearing.

  2. Ted K Says:

    Also, a little side note (even though no one could care less), Jerry Brown was my first Presidential vote in 1992. I wanted to vote for Paul Tsongas, but because some red tape bureaucracy, Tsongas couldn’t his name on the ballot in my state.

  3. Courtney Says:

    Oil tampon funny courtesy of Roy Ederoso:

  4. Chris Says:

    Carly Fiorina wants to do to women’s rights what she did to HP’s stock price.

  5. Jeff Says:

    This blog clearly lacks substantive information of any kind to support it’s claims and is an atrocity created out of your need to mislead the American people with your opinion. The headline you have designated to this garbage attempts to insinuate that Carly Fiorina is incapable of multitasking, which you suggest as a critically important quality for someone in office. Aside from the lack of evidence supporting your claim that Obama is succeeding at doing so, your only rebuke of Mrs. Fiorina amounts to nothing more than a judgemental comment which you denounced Ted for doing so in his comment. You show a sincere lack of integrity in both your failure to cite sources properly and mismanagement of your own blog.

    That being said, you might want to check out scientific research and the policies being enacted by your liberal friends. Maybe find some research done by René Marois, Ph.D., of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, about the evidence in his findings about the brains INABILITY TO MULTITASK. Even California knows that! Maybe that’s why they’ve created legislation to ban cellphone use while driving, because of the findings in this study.

    Before you start to chide about Obama being some superhuman capable of multitasking, check the research and facts before you make yourself look like a dumbass. Oops, you might delete my comment now because of your hypocritical tendencies.

    To quote Dick Masterson in closing, “Fucking two things up at the same time isn`t multitasking.”

    Have a nice day!

    • Tom Says:

      Boy, Jeff, is this some weak sauce trolling. Can’t you do better than this?

      (A) I’m not sure if you grasp the distinction between, say driving and yakking, and confronting problems on short and long time scales, which is what the post is about. Fiorina says we shouldn’t. Obama says we should. I think, for reasons laid out in some detail above, that Obama is right, and that if Fiorina’s experience really is a guide to her approach to governance, her display in this case of short-term thinking is a prelude to disaster.

      You choose not to engage that argument, instead throwing around a parody of science and few embarrassingly whiny insults.

      And btw — if you are looking for atrocities, I suggest you turn your gaze to the gulf, and not this blog. No birds, fisheries, properly oxygenated marine ecosystem or long established human ways of life were destroyed in the writing of the post above. Your fauxtrage meter is showing.

      All that said, I know, one should not feed the trolls. But every now and then one comes along that makes me truly wish we had a better class of same around here.

  6. Jeff Says:

    Is there a way I can get in touch with you further, maybe via email? I just have some questions for curiosity sake that I would rather discuss through email.

    • Tom Says:

      I’m eminently findable. I don’t put my email up here just to keep the worst of the spam away, but if you google me, you’ll find me quickly enough. Happy to chat.

  7. […] Levenson on walking and chewing gum at the same time. var a2a_config = a2a_config || {}; a2a_config.linkname="Carlyfornication"; […]

  8. Notuncajeff Says:

    Carly is simply using a clever rhetorical trick to indicate that she’s opposed to greenhouse gas legislation. She couldn’t care less about how many things Obama can think about at once. The accusation of short-term thinking on her part is pure prejudice based on the fiduciary obligation she had in her role as CEO of HP to maximize shareholder value in the short term. Actually, the reason she was fired was because she was unable to pay attention to the day to day details of running the company, preferring to make big long-term statements and gallivant around the world hobnobbing with bigwigs at places like Davos. She made some big strategic moves, spinning off Agilent and buying Compaq, that turned out to be the right thing in the long term, but didn’t have the short term payoff that financial markets demand. When she left, there were still people at HP who thought that making a profit was not why anyone was there. It took a detail-oriented CEO like Mark Hurd to clean out all the dead wood that fifty years of “Hewlett-Packard philosophy” had allowed to accumulate. (Hurd has fired many times more people than Fiorina ever did, but he’s praised for it while she’s pilloried.) A job like Senator that’s all pontification and no accountability is perfect for her.

    • Tom Says:

      Of course this is a rhetorical cover. But if she puts up an argument in plain language that conceals a dog-whistle, she shouldn’t be taken aback (nor should any stray supporters) when we take her at the overt meaning of her words.

      Also, I must say I admired your sleight of hand above. I am an investor of three decades now, and I’ve never heard that a CEO or any other manager has a fiduciary responsibility to raise shareholder value in the short term. That may be the culture — it is, of course, in many places. But a fiduciary duty to worry about next quarter’s numbers? No. Not at all.

  9. Suzan Says:

    What a fine dissection of the thinking of a total idiot – the perfect Rethuglican candidate to try to take Boxer’s place in CA.



    Instead, she said the president is planning to meet with Boxer to discuss the climate change bill.

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