Draft Carly Fiorina
by Bernie Quigley
For The Hill on 3/8/11
Mitt Romney liked to say about his Democratic opponents in the 2008 race that not one of them had managed as much as a corner grocery store. A most relevant observation and as co-founder and head of Bain Capital, one that should put Romney at the top of the heap today. Of course, he was Governor of Massachusetts as well but he must not have felt dominion with that state as he lives part-time in New Hampshire now, which is different. And in the current day, it is hard to see that he was a successful governor as his health care plan is out of vogue, and he only seemed to want to be governor as a step to the Presidency. Nevertheless, he was enormously successful as a CEO and should continue to go with that. In fact, I’ve decided to update Quigley’s Grading Scale for Presidential Viability and put “CEO of a Major Corporation” second from the top, throwing out “Top Military Commander” entirely.
In fact, in our new century, maybe “CEO of a Major Corporation” should be first in place of “Governor of a Big State.” But big state should be included as a reality check. This is where power orients, and there are five: California, Texas, New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey.
Romney is up here now and Tim Pawlenty is out there quoting the Bible in Iowa. It’s the “new” Romney. “His tie – ever present in 2008 – was gone. His hair – always perfectly coifed – flopped over his forehead.” No, it is not about this at all; it is not about looking different, it is about thinking different, being different. Image will naturally emerge. One thing you have to admire about Dick Nixon: He never blow dried his hair. And a Republican publicist pitching a book to tell politicians how to “win” in 2012, says Pawlenty has “the perfect temperament” to be President. There is a phrase they use on the TV drama “Mad Men” when they have doubts; better “run it by Don” first.
In this regard, the Republicans suffer from what might be called the “Duck Phillips Syndrome”; reference to an ad man masterfully presented by Mark Moses. Duck is the ad man who constantly wants to repeat the past, when the future is opening like a hurricane. As it is today. Choice Republican candidates today look like they were drawn from a survey of Knights of Columbus, Veterans of Foreign Wars, those guys who work at National Review and the Baptist Convention. They might run it by Don first.
There is no one in this race from California, our most influential and creative state and there should always be. And Romney’s claim that the Democrats couldn’t run a candy store pretty much fits this Republican line up as well.
Need new ideas, not new hair. New people relevant to the day and the zeitgeist. Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina – like Romney – both lost their races in a quirky state. But they were the best candidates in their races, they were right in their approaches and history will vindicate them. And both, like Romney, are qualified in our time not because of their political backgrounds but because of their business leadership and vision. They should both go to the top of the list in 21st century America.