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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Carly Fiorina Doesn't Know What She's Talking About

You may remember Carly Fiorina best for her incompetent stewardship of Hewlett Packard, the unceremonious way that she was fired by the HP board, the $21 million dollar golden parachute she recieved (which earned HP a lawsuit), or maybe just that the day her firing was announced HP stock went up 7%.

However you remember her, though, get ready to meet the new Carly Fiorina: Ignorant political hack. That's right, Fiorina has been stumping for John McSame, and she quite literally and quite obviously hasn't the faintest idea what she's talking about. It's no surprise that HP employees all remember her so fondly!

Take exhibit A, an interview that Fiorina sat down for with Grist last month. Presumabley Fiorina had advanced notice that she would be doing the interview, and herlack of understanding on a number of key issues is readily apparent.

For instance, right off the bat Grist asks her a specific question about the obvious benefits of auctioning carbon permits, as Obama proposes, rather than giving them away, as McCain does.
He seems to leave the door open for the auction of carbon credits, but doesn't actually outline any plans there. Auctioning credits would create even greater market incentive to go green. So, why not push for greater, faster auction, as the other presidential candidates have done?

"I think the goal that McCain set in his speech -- and you're right, those goals differ and are lower than the goals that Obama or Clinton would suggest -- is because he's a realist and practical about what's actually an achievable goal. You don't actually get anything done -- and as a businesswoman I know this -- if you set goals that are out of reach. When you get something done is when you set a goal that is ambitious but achievable."
Is she a person or a motivational tape? "When you get something done is when you set a goal that is ambitious but achievable" is not an answer. It's barely even a sentence. This wasn't a deft avoidance or side stepping of the question, it was an embarrisingly ham-fisted punt.

Next up: Tax credits and the PTC.
What are some of the key tax incentives that McCain could push for, in your opinion, to really develop the green economy?

"I think he believes that the cap-and-trade system, if appropriately executed -- and there are lots of places where it has not been appropriately executed -- can create tax incentives for innovation, because in essence it permits companies to build up cash if they can develop and utilize alternative technologies. He would also make the R&D tax credit permanent. That encourages innovation in research and development, without a doubt."

How about the production tax credit for renewable energy?

"I think that's another example."
Notice how Grist guides Fiorina towards the PTC. She came up with a convoluted manner in which a cap-and-trade is a tax incentive, but she couldn't offer specific incentives that McCain supported (because one month ago he still had no energy policy). Grist was clearly asking about the PTC in the first question. It's all that anybody in the renewable industry has been talking about all year, and McCain has opposed extending it one year for wind and through 2013 for other forms of renewables.

But Fiorina, clearly ignorant, replies "I think that's another example." Does this imply endorsment? Did Fiorina, acting as a McCain surrogate, support extending the PTC? No, because she's not speaking for the campaign's policy, because she doesn't know what she's talking about. What does McCain actually have to say about the PTC?
I'm not one who believes that we need to subsidize things. The wind industry is doing fine, the solar industry is doing fine. In the '70s, we gave too many subsidies and too much help, and we had substandard products sold to the American people, which then made them disenchanted with solar for a long time.
Let's be generous to Fiorina. She was brought onboard the "Straight Talk Express" to beef up McCain's economic credibility (didn't they google her first?), and even though energy policy and the green economy is a huge part of the future economy of the US, maybe it's not her bag.

But here she is again speaking out about Obama's tax cut plans, and she's completely wrong on the facts, again.She claims with confidence, despite reality, that Obama has "not proposed one single tax cut." Does the former CEO of Hewlett Packard not own a computer? Did she really not bother to look it up before she went on TV to talk about it? This is apparently not a person who believes in homework.

If Fiorina is suggesting that McCain will run the country as she ran HP, then she is making a strong argument to vote Obama!