Carly Fiorina/George Pataki ‘12
by Bernie Quigley
For The Hill on 10/15/10
When they send their best people after you – Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert, Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin and David Letterman – and it turns out they’re all stand-up comics, the age has turned. Even Lady Gaga can’t help. Or that guy who sells Chevy trucks at NFL football games who they want to be senator. Get it? Because he drives a truck. Like Scott Brown. So in that regard it is not the most importance thing that conservatives win every race in November – against Barney Frank, Barbara Boxer – but engage long-term the turning ahead. Because this is not a typical political turning. This is different.
The California senate race between Carly Fiorina and Barbara Boxer is, as Fred Barnes says in the Weekly Standard, the most important race of 2010. And if Fiorina beats Boxer, liberalism will suffer a “grievous defeat.”
“Fiorina, 56, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, articulates the free-market alternative to liberal, statist economic policies better than any candidate I’ve seen this year. Her experience as a highly visible corporate executive in Silicon Valley has made her a poised candidate, a natural, though it’s her first run for office,” writes Barnes.
But whether she wins or not in November, those same qualities make her a real-life candidate for president in 2012. Other times might require a Grant, a Roosevelt or an Obama. Our times, which suddenly find us to be in investor Jim Rogers’ phrase, “the greater debtor nation in the history of the world” require a CEO.
The change we face ahead is historic, not cyclical. President Obama brings completion of a historic cycle. But history moves on. In hindsight it can be observed that when the period’s avatar dies the movement dies shortly thereafter. And as it was with Jefferson and Victoria so it will be with the death of Ted Kennedy. New generations come. New ideas take hold and we have seen rise here since February, 2009, some brand new thinking. New ideas and new generations need new people. And it is futile but inevitable for the nostalgic impulse to take hold and call for a return of a Bush, a Clinton, another Kennedy relative or another Cuomo. And it drags the region and the party back to the past and inhibits the new awakening.
Roosevelt liberalism and any other Keynes/Marx hybrid impulse are finished with this president. Conservatives should look to the “creative conflict” in their own ranks which started last year in NY 23 when Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman challenged the mainstream candidates. A call from the wild first came from Sarah Palin to support the new approach and right there with her was former NY governor George Pataki, soon to be followed by governors Tim Pawlenty and Rick Perry. The pragmatic old-schoolers, led by Newt Gingrich, fell in line behind the traditional party candidate.
This new division grew all year and was particularly noticeable in the Texas gubernatorial primary in which the old school favorites including Karl Rove, George H.W. Bush, Karen Hughes as a proxy for George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and others lined up behind Kay Bailey Hutchinson in opposition to incumbent Rick Perry. Rick Perry had only the support of Sarah Palin but won in a landslide.
This intramural division among conservatives and not that between Republican and Democrat, is the most relevant division in American politics today and the century ahead depends on its outcome.
It will begin to play out in the Republican primary for 2012. I hope Sarah Palin, the catalyst for the new outlook, runs. I hope Pataki, who puts boots on the ground to oppose Obamacare when others just give speeches, runs as well. And Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal who both belong to the new thinking. But I hope Fiorina runs as well, as she, more than anyone, might be the one to bring forth from this creative and still amorphous awakening, a new political paradigm and a new America.