Trump, Carson and Fiorina Lack True Conservative Credentials
Walsh’s most serious critique of Carson, however, centered on his faith. Walsh recalled a quote Carson posted on Facebook around Easter: “Jesus was a man of values and principles, and he ended up being crucified for it. But, he rose again to advocate godly principles.”
“Jesus wasn’t a man who was crucified ‘for his principles’ and then came back to ‘advocate principles,’” Walsh explained. “He was and is the Son of the Living God who died on the cross and rose from the dead to bring salvation to mankind.”
For a candidate like Ben Carson, whose primary base of support is evangelical Christians, to screw up such an essential part of Christian doctrine is indeed astounding. But, as the New York Times’ Ross Douthat explains, evangelical voters have a weakness for the “low on specifics, high on godliness” pitch.
“The evangelical tendency has been to look for a kind of godly hero, a Christian leader who could win the White House and undo every culture-war defeat,” Douthat argues. Unfortunately, political and cultural changes do not usually come from one powerful individual, but “from networks, institutions, interest groups,” and require “strategy, alliance-building and steady pressure.”
Evangelicals should wake up and move on from Ben Carson. He cannot articulate the Christian faith, and there isn’t any evidence he would be an effective proponent of conservative policies.
Carly Fiorina, Failed CEO
In the 2010 California U.S. Senate Republican primary, a grassroots conservative upstart challenged a moderate establishment candidate. The grassroots conservative was Chuck DeVore and the establishment candidate was Carly Fiorina. John McCain and Lindsey Graham endorsed Fiorina, while Jim DeMint endorsed DeVore.
Fiorina outspent DeVore 3 to 1 in the primary, and then went on to lose badly to Senator Barbara Boxer in the general election. What caused this Republican to lose badly in a wave year for the GOP? Her business record at Hewlett-Packard (HP).
In September 2010, Carly Fiorina was running surprisingly close to Barbara Boxer, but then Boxer released an ad about Fiorina’s time at HP. Fiorina’s poll numbers plummeted and never fully recovered. As the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza said, “the ad functioned as a sort of knock-out punch for Boxer even in a year where Republicans claimed victories all across the country.”
“As the CEO of HP, Carly Fiorina laid off 30,000 workers,” the ad declares. Then it pans to footage of Fiorina, who says, “when you’re talking about massive layoffs, which we did...perhaps the work needs to be done somewhere else.” Then the ad explains where the jobs went: China.
“As Californians lost their jobs, Fiorina tripled her salary, bought a million dollar yacht, five corporate jets.” Then the damning tagline -- Fiorina saying “I’m proud of what I’ve done at HP.”
Even worse, PolitiFact rated the claim “mostly true,” since Fiorina did lay off 30,000 workers.
The way Fiorina herself tells the story, she turned HP around and was fired because she challenged the status quo. In reality, she pushed a controversial merger with Compaq, got her way and hurt the company. When Fiorina took over, HP’s stock price was $55 a share; it dropped to a little less than $20 a share under her leadership.
There are good reasons why Fiorina shows up on lists of the worst CEOs in recent history. Notable lists come from Moneywatch, USA Today’s American Ouster and ABC News. CNBC ranked her the 19th worst CEO of all time.
In the words of Townhall’s John Hawkins, “if you think it wouldn’t be incredibly effective to point out that Fiorina fired 30,000 workers, tanked the price of the company’s stock, damaged Hewlett-Packard so badly that it has yet to recover and STILL walked away with 100 million dollars for being one of the worst CEOs of all time, you’re kidding yourself.”
Finally, Fiorina’s stances on certain positions reveal she is no conservative. As RedState reported in the 2010 race, she voiced qualified support for Obama’s stimulus, backed the Wall Street bailouts, did not reverse her previous support for an internet sales tax and did not retract her master’s thesis, which advocated greater federal control of local education. She also backed the California DREAM Act, which grants in-state tuition to illegal immigrants, and cap & trade.
“If you’re backing Carly Fiorina, you’re backing a 0-1, establishment moderate who was an epic failure at the one thing that is supposed to qualify her for the presidency,” Hawkins declared. She may have impressive foreign policy answers and a presidential demeanor, but she is no true conservative.
If you want to support a conservative change agent for 2016, you still have good options. Three senators, Ted Cruz (R, Texas), Rand Paul (R, Kentucky) and Marco Rubio (R, Florida), have solid conservative records and strong plans to restrain the size and scope of the federal government. Some governors, like Bobby Jindal (R, Louisiana), have reformed their tax codes and achieved real change. Please note that none of this should be taken as an endorsement.
Besides, is it logical to choose a candidate with zero experience in elected office, and make that person president of the United States?
As Real Clear Politics’ Carl M. Cannon wrote, “Would any of the three political novices allow, say, Chris Christie or Jeb Bush, perform brain surgery on them? The answer is: of course not. So why is politics the only profession in which it’s logical to start at the very top?”
“Would Ben Carson advise an aspiring physician to skip medical school because he doesn’t like the way the nation’s health care system is run?”
By all means, support a candidate who will challenge the status quo and bring conservative change to Washington -- just make sure that person is a true conservative. Trump, Carson, and Fiorina aren’t.