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Carly Fiorina: Running Mate Turns Into Fall Girl

Odd Couple

While checking on the US primaries a few days ago, we came across a piece of news informing us that pretend candle-swallower Ted Cruz had picked Carly Fiorina as his “vice-presidential running mate”. Our first thought upon hearing this was “WTF”?


Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina

Ted Cruz picked Carly Fiorina as “vice-presidential running mate”. Shareholders lost 50% when Fiorina was leading HP. Will Fiorina help Cruz losing? - Click to enlarge

It’s not so much that he’s picking another “loooooser” as The Donald would put it…the real absurdity of it is that even if Cruz were to win every single one of the remaining delegates (which isn’t going to happen in a million years), he could still no longer gain the number of delegates required to ensure his nomination. This has become a mathematical impossibility.

Prior to his bid for the nomination, we knew fairly little about Mr. Cruz (we still don’t know much – he’s not that interesting). We were aware though that he was considered a non-establishment “tea party” guy, a notion people should be thoroughly disabused of in the meantime.

Just to get this out of the way: We are actually on board with what might be described as “bourgeois” values (i.e., values many so-called conservatives are at least giving lip service to) – we are pro free market, against big government (in fact, if it were up to us, there would be no government at all – in our opinion this anachronistic institution is surplus to requirements), we believe in personal responsibility, we respect the body of Christian values and ethics (in spite of not being particularly religious ourselves), and so on. We actually like Western civilization and capitalism and think they have vastly improved the world.

But above all, we stand for the non-aggression principle (NAP). If there is one slogan we would fully support, it is “live and let live”.  We have for instance no problem whatsoever with other people pursuing lifestyles we personally reject. The notion that the State should prescribe and enforce such things is completely alien to us. We also strenuously oppose war (unless it is joined for what are clearly self-defense purposes).

The foreign policy views formulated by Mr. Cruz can only be described as unbridled belligerence and are in no way different from the usual neo-con pablum that evidently informs establishment politicians of both parties (Ms. Clinton’s FP views are essentially indistinguishable from those of Mr. Cruz). This unanimous support for policies that have demonstrably inflicted vast misery and huge losses in terms of lives and treasure means that these politicians are either A) dumber than fence posts, or B) part of a giant racket.

We actually think it’s a mixture of both and Mr. Cruz should be firmly rejected on these grounds alone.  As we have repeatedly stressed, whatever one thinks about The Donald and his undoubtedly quite numerous faults, his non-interventionist foreign policy views are extremely refreshing and are the one thing that truly makes him stand out from all other contenders for the presidency. When was the last time a front-runner for the nomination dared to defy the military-industrial complex?

This brings us back to Mr. Cruz and his strange appointment of Ms. Fiorina. What does this absurd gimmick tell us about him, given that he cannot possibly win the required number of delegates any longer? A sign of mental illness perhaps?

Probably not. We think it is telling us that he is desperately trying to ingratiate himself with the Republican establishment – which is firmly anti-Trump for the simple reason that Trump is a genuine threat to its cozy cronyism. The only purpose of Mr. Cruz’ continued participation in the primaries is an attempt to deny The Donald the majority of delegates in order to bring about a brokered convention.

Obviously, the idea that Mr. Cruz is some kind of “anti establishment Tea Party guy” is a load of cow manure.


Fall Girl

As to Ms. Fiorina, here is a brief assessment of her reign at Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), which ended rather ignominiously with her forced resignation (via Wikipedia):


“Following her forced resignation from HP, several commentators ranked Fiorina as one of the worst American (or tech) CEOs of all time. In 2008, InfoWorld grouped her with a list of products and ideas that flopped, declaring that her tenure as CEO of HP was the sixth worst tech flop of all time, and characterizing her as the “anti-Steve Jobs” for reversing the goodwill of “geeks” and alienating existing customers.

During Fiorina’s tenure as CEO, HP leased or purchased five planes, including two Gulfstream IVs, to replace four aging aircraft, only one of which had the range to fly overseas. One Gulfstream IV, acquired at a cost of US$30 million and available for Fiorina’s “exclusive” use, became a rallying point among HP employees who complained of Fiorina’s expensive self-promotion and top-down managerial style during a time of company layoffs. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld of Yale School of Management said in August 2015 that problems with Fiorina’s leadership style were what caused HP to lose half its value during her tenure.


(emphasis added)

So yes, superficially, she seems to be a “looooser”, and as such it seems a fitting appointment. Well, not so fast. The losers in her reign at HPQ were actually only the company’s employees and shareholders. Ms. Fiorina herself actually turned out to be an incredibly successful crony:


Fiorina received a larger signing offer than any of her predecessors, including: US$65 million in restricted stock to compensate her for the Lucent stock and options she left behind, a US$3 million signing bonus, a US$1 million annual salary (plus a US$1.25–US$3.75 million annual bonus), US$36,000 in mortgage assistance, a relocation allowance, and permission (and encouragement) to use company planes for personal affairs.


Under the company’s agreement with Fiorina, which was characterized as a golden parachute by Time magazine, and Yahoo Finance, Fiorina received a severance package valued at US$21 million, which consisted of 2.5 times her annual salary plus bonus and the balance from accelerated vesting of stock options. According to Fortune magazine, Fiorina collected over US$100 million in compensation during her short tenure at HP.”


(emphasis added)


HPQ Hewlett-Packard Co. NYSE

HPQ’s stock during the reign of Ms. Fiorina. It was a complete disaster for everyone – except for herself.

HPQ Hewlett-Packard Co. NYSE.

Ted Cruz picked Carly Fiorina as “vice-presidential running mate”. Shareholders lost 50% when Fiorina was leading HP. Will Fiorina help Cruz losing? - Click to enlarge


So in a way, both Mr. Cruz and Ms. Fiorina can be associated with terms like “fall” or “decline”. In Ms. Fiorina’s case it was the share price of HPQ, in the case of Mr. Cruz it’s the polls. They are indeed well matched…and probably deserve each other.

The following scene is therefore also quite fitting – gravity yet again delivers a stern message:


Spontaneous disappearance


What makes this video truly hilarious isn’t the fact that she is falling down (we’re not that childish), although it does have a certain slapstick quality. Rather, it’s the utter bizarreness of the scene in its entirety…it is almost like a broadcast from a parallel universe.

For one thing, there is Ms. Fiorina’s comical announcement of Ted Cruz as “the next president of the United States”, completely undeterred by the fact that he cannot possibly win enough delegates anymore. For another thing, there is Cruz, steadfastly refusing to deviate from his entrance script.

He isn’t flinching for one micro-second when she goes down, not even making the slightest attempt to help Ms. Running Mate up. Instead he decides to continue to shake hands…he’s not even pretending he cares! This is definitely comedy gold.


Addendum: A Boehner Hate Wave

We generally don’t put much stock into the opinions of former house speaker John Boehner, but he really seems to hate Ted Cruz… he recently vented on his former colleague as follows:

Former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) panned Ted Cruz as “Lucifer in the flesh during comments at an event Wednesday night at Stanford University. “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone,” Boehner said, according to The Stanford Daily. “But I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”
It could be that he’s still bearing a grudge, but since Boehner is no longer politically active, he doesn’t really have a dog in the hunt. So maybe it’s well-intended warning…


The moment Mr. Trump entered the contest and started to become successful, we knew this year’s election circus would provide great entertainment. It continues to deliver. More absurdities undoubtedly await.. stay tuned!


Chart by: StockCharts


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Pater Tenebrarum
Pater Tenebrarum is an independent analyst and economist/social theorist. He has been involved with financial markets in various capacities for 39 years and currently writes economic and market analyses for independent research organizations and a European hedge fund consultancy as well as being the main author of the acting-man blog.
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