Though there’s considerable disagreement over the damage, if any, done to Donald Trump in last week’s first official Republican presidential debate, there’s no question one candidate is getting roses strewn in her path for her performance in the “Happy Hour” forum among those who didn’t make the debate cut. I discussed the Carly Fiorina phenomenon, and the glaring question it raises, at Washington Monthly yesterday:
She’s basically running even with Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Marco Rubio in the only national GOP poll (from Rasmussen) taken since the debates, as is also the case in a new poll of Iowa from PPP. She’s not quite so strong in another new Iowa poll from Suffolk, but is running ahead of Bush, Huckabee and Paul there. Hell, Huck was campaigning in Iowa at a time when Carly was still counting her please-go-away money from HP and thinking about launching a losing Senate campaign. So her standing is pretty impressive.
It will be interesting to see if and when her standing compels her rivals or media to begin challenging her extremely thin qualifications to become president of the United States. Yes, the whole GOP needs her for gender diversity and for launching toxic attacks on Hillary Clinton into the atmosphere without too much gender backlash. But at some point, if you’re Jeb Bush with your two terms as Governor of Florida or Mike Huckabee with your two-plus terms as Governor of Arkansas or Rick Perry with your three-plus terms as Governor of Texas, you might get tired of looking up the leader board at Fiorina while pretending it’s non-germane that she blew up the company in her one CEO gig and lost her one political campaign by a near-landslide in the best Republican year since World War II…..
Maybe none of this matters to Republicans looking for an “outsider” candidate who’s done more than her share of Power Point presentations and has a good personal story (including being a cancer survivor). But we’ll never know until the questions get asked.