Former HP chief Carly Fiorina is rumored to be near the top of a very short list of possible Vice Presidential candidates.While the article goes on to point out that this could just be a red herring to trow off the Democrats, I think it's worth looking into.
Fiorina has already joined the Republican National Committee as the party's "Victory Chairman." She has been promoting presumed GOP presidential candidate John McCain on the campaign trail. "John McCain has the right vision for our country and the character, experience and judgment to lead," she has said.
Her obvious positives: as a former CEO and business leader she knows more about the economy than McCain, she brings gender diversity to the GOP ticket (which will be especially helpful if Sen. Obama gets the nomination), and she has the executive experience that Sen. McCain lacks. Now, on to the negatives.
Fiorina's most glaring negative is that she has never run for any public office before. While she has done some campaigning for Sen. McCain already, it is my understanding that this campaigning has been confined to the business/technology community. McCain needs a VP who is at home on the campaign trail and can connect with everyday workers with as much ease as they connect with executives. Having never run for office, most of Fiorina's views outside of business issues are unknown. If she is socially conservative (which is what McCain will need), she has to be able to prove it somehow. Her tenure as CEO at Hewlett-Packard ended when she was forced to resign by board members due to what they saw as poor performance.
As I said before, most of her views are unknown. However, she has done some interviews which have touched on important political issues. She, like McCain, sees great promise in guest worker programs for foreign workers:
I think first of all the H-1B Visa program is very important to the technology industry. The American people get concerned and understandably emotional about it when they perhaps don’t understand the differences between the H-1B Visa program and illegal immigration. So we have to make these differences clear because as McCain said, illegal immigration is a hugely emotional issue and it’s a very difficult issue in a state like California. So we have to be very open and specific about why the H-1B Visa program bears no resemblance to illegal immigration. We also then have to recognize that American workers all over this country are increasingly concerned about their ability to compete against foreign workers, whether those foreign workers are outside our country or whether they’re coming into our country.However, in the interview quote above, she segues into the need to retrain American workers, so that businesses are less reliant on guest worker programs in the future.
On Iraq, Fiorina doesn't seem to be anti-war, but she may have doubts over whether it was the right thing to do in the first place:
Whatever people think about how we got here, what we do now is a matter of grave importance. And Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama think that what we should do is depart even though we're finally starting to see success. John McCain believes that we need to build on the success that we've seen in the last year or so and win in Iraq - not because he wants to stay there for 100 years but in fact because he believes a stable country is in our interests.On a better note, she doesn't seem like the type of person to play the gender card. For example, she has questioned Fortune magazine's list of top female executives:
In my heart, I think it takes a soldier to bring us home with victory and honor. I think it takes a soldier, someone who really understands war - how terrible it is, the cost of war, the price of war - I think it takes someone who really understands it, to finish it.
It’s a terrific thing to highlight women leaders ... [but] the list sends the wrong message. The list says women have to compete against each other one to 50, because they can’t play with the big boys. It’s not the fact that they’re highlighted that’s the problem. ... I think part of the reason we haven’t made as much progress as we should is that women leaders are thought of as different somehow. There is no men’s list.I'm sure that if Sen. McCain is seriously considering her for VP, we'll subtly start learning about more of her personal views on political topics outside the realm of business. But, as I wrote this post, I have become increasinly convinced that this won't be the case. McCain will have to bring his A game this year, and choosing an RNC insider unknown to most voters might not be the best idea.