Lifelong Failure Carly Fiorina Does What She Does Best

Pictured: “Vote for me; I’m good at accumulating unearned wealth.”
Pictured: “Vote for me; I’m good at accumulating unearned wealth.”

If Carly Fiorina’s life were a television series, last Wednesday’s season finale would have occasioned a lot of groaning about lazy formulas. Really? Another season ending with Carly an utter abject failure, and the people who worked for her unemployed? For chrissakes, House was more unpredictable than this.


In the statement she posted to Facebook announcing (or, well, acknowledging) the end of her campaign, Fiorina wrote, “A leader is a servant whose highest calling is to unlock potential in others.” If that’s true, then it’s a pretty succinct explanation of why nobody wanted to vote for Carly Fiorina: In order to believe she is a leader, one must also believe that everybody else’s highest heretofore-unfulfilled potential is to be a whole hell of a lot worse off.

In plain terms, Carly Fiorina has been pretty bad at pretty much everything she has ever done other than convincing suckers to pay her lots of money. She was a catastrophically inept business executive; she faked enough success at Lucent Technologies to get herself hired to run Hewlett-Packard, where she laid off 30,000 workers to facilitate HP’s disastrous merger with Compaq, then got shit-canned (with a $21 million severance package!) for being terrible at her job. Her first venture into politics was as a much-touted adviser, fundraiser, and spokesperson for John McCain’s hilariously bad 2008 presidential campaign. You’ll be shocked to learn she was bad at this; the campaign had to bury her under a rock after she told interviewers that neither McCain nor his running mate, Sarah Palin—the people she was supposed to be promoting—had the chops to run a corporation.

(On a side note, I find this delightfully ironic, because she was right. John McCain couldn’t run a fucking 7-Eleven, and Sarah Palin’s scarcely qualified to shop in one. My god, for once in her fucking life Carly Fiorina said something true and correct, and was wrong anyway. Catastrophically wrong! If you can think of a better illustration of ineptitude than that, I would love to hear it.)

In her second venture into politics, she spent some $22 million to get flattened by Barbara Boxer in the 2010 California Senate race. One of her campaign’s last acts before the election was to write a $1 million check to Carly herself, to repay money she’d pumped into it; meanwhile, it fucked staffers out of their paychecks for literally years. Now she has flamed out of the presidential campaign; if you want to claim that her personal ambition created jobs on the campaign, fine, just as long as you acknowledge that, like pretty much every other venture she’s undertaken in her adult life, this one has ended with people who worked under her looking for new jobs, and hopefully not holding their breath for paychecks she owes them.

This is what Carly Fiorina does. She fails, and calls it success, and gets richer, and fails again, and so on. If you have an impulse to feel good about voters having rejected this cycle, consider that Donald Trump is just Carly Fiorina with worse hair, and he’s the frontrunner. No part of this is worth feeling good about.

Listen. Capitalism is pretty stupid. It likes to think of itself as moving resources and power in the direction of productivity and innovation and the fulfillment of societal needs—moreover, it likes to think that it cannot not do this, that this is essentially a natural law, as inexorable as gravity or time; it likes to think of constraints upon itself as naive, wasteful inefficiencies, as foolish and doomed as trying to make water run uphill—but actually, nah. Actually, it mostly just shovels big heaps of unearned money toward craven, big-talking morons like Carly Fiorina whose only skill is an ability to create a temporary illusion that they’ll make the people giving it to them even richer. In real, practical terms, it values that skill—hucksterism, the service of pure self-interest—above virtually all others, because it is stupid.


No, really, that’s it. That’s the kicker. Capitalism is stupid. Have a great day.

Photo via Getty

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