Carly Fiorina: A Possible Fit for Conservatives?

Cary Fiorina, former Hewlett-Packard CEO and probable candidate for U.S. Senate from California, is starting to look like a viable choice for conservative voters in the Golden State, giving the GOP two conservatives from whom to chose.

Fiorina’s bona fides have been a question to many California Republicans because she is a relative newcomer to politics and many are not familiar with her political philosophy or what her campaign will stand for. But her recent hard hitting editorial in the Fresno Bee helps bring her ideals better into focus for the voters.

Firoina’s editorial in the Bee focuses on the water controversy of the San Joaquin Valley. As many know, a federal bureaucracy has summarily shut off water to thousands of acres of farmland merely in order to save a fish; the delta smelt. This enviro-activism has shut down thousands of acres of farmland and put thousands of residents out of work. Down the line it will also negatively affect the nation’s food supply because the San Joaquin Valley supplies much of our vegetables and fruits.

Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) recently said that the water crisis is a manmade one.

Here is the truth about federal water regulations that are cutting our local water supplies in the name of saving endangered fish: We are being punished for pollution entering the water system as far north as Sacramento and beyond, as well as for the predatory bass and other stressors beyond our area’s control.

So this situation is a volatile one pitting environmentalists against workers of the Valley. It would be easy for a candidate to soft sell a stance on this issue in an attempt to satisfy both the fish lovers out there and the residents that are losing their livelihoods. Fiorina, however, came out strong in her position.

Fiorina is unequivocal on her stance: the water should be turned on regardless of what it is doing to the fish. Of her fact finding trip to the Valley, Fiorina said:

The day began with a visit to a local farm and a thorough briefing by water and agriculture experts. They provided a realistic assessment of the ill-considered actions that have literally turned off the spigot and prevented farmers from getting the water necessary to put their land into production.

She agreed with Senator Dianne Feinstein for supporting a federal study to investigate California’s water crisis, but said that the water should not be shut off during this study period.

Pragmatism calls for a solution that provides economic relief to a devastated region. It continues with a review and improvement of the science as Sen. Feinstein has recommended.

Ideology should not triumph over common sense and compassion. Leaders in our state and nation should focus on our top priority — jobs and opportunity.

Clearly Fiorina is promulgating a strong conservative principle here. It seems likely that conservatives will find much to like about Fiorina’s stance at least on this issue.

In the meantime, Barbara Boxer voted against this sort of solution by turning down Senator Jim DeMint’s amendment that would temporarily return the water to the Valley as the situation is studied. Boxer’s solution is to allow the harm to the Valley’s delicate economy to continue while bureaucrats dither and ponder the lives of fish.

Still, Fiorina has a long way to go — including making her campaign official and not just exploratory — before she is a lock. To be sure Chuck DeVore, an announced Republican candidate for Senate (, has been in the race for some time unlike Fiorina who is still in the exploratory phase of her effort. A recent poll pitting DeVore against Fiorina finds respondents rating the two nearly even. The poll also shows greater than half the respondents are undecided, however, and both candidates seem to have an uphill battle against incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer, with Fiorina having a slight advantage over DeVore on this count.

It is clear that both Fiorina and DeVore have a ways to go to convince California’s Republican voters that they are the right choice. Fiorina in particular has a lot of work to do if she is to convince voters that she is the right choice. This trip and editorial should help reveal her viability. She has launched a website, though like many, I am not a big fan of it and it’s sort of hokey kicker line: “Carlyfornia Dreamin!!!” (yes, it does have all three exclamation marks). But let’s not mark a candidate by how cool her website is, shall we?

Finally, I can’t resist this. I just have to show you DeVore’s great ad displaying the ill-tempered Barbara Boxer:

And let’s be clear here. No matter who the Republicans pick as a candidate for Senate, This, Boxer, is what they face.

(Cross posted at

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