Tuesday's election results keep having fascinating aftershocks. Plus: The Alvin Greene story is just sad
I think Carly Fiorina is history. Her catty, clueless, on-camera hot mic conversation about Barbara Boxer’s hair and other topics created a perfect indelible picture of her persona, which should have been sealed in public opinion by the way she de-souled Hewlett Packard as CEO, and then set private investigators on dissident members of her board before she went down (with her $21 million golden/leaden parachute).
But I have to say, it’s disappointing the focus has been on Fiorina’s diss of Boxer’s hair. The real political story was insulting her female GOP “colleague” Meg Whitman for going on right-winger Sean Hannity’s show the day after Whitman’s primary win in the governor’s race. It highlighted the Whitman/Fiorina feud — we can’t have TWO female Republican Silicon Valley CEOs running for top state offices in California; they must scratch one another’s eyes out! And if it’s up to Fiorina, she might.
The sad flap underscored Fiorina’s lack of a moral and political compass, as well as her nastiness. If she was trying to make the point that Whitman should be tacking to the center to win California – which in fact, she and Fiorina must do to win their races, and won’t do – her strategic savvy was undermined by the fact that when her icky remarks came to light, she apologized to righty bully Hannity, and not her GOP colleague Whitman. Way to wage a feminist campaign against Barbara Boxer, Carly! I am woman, hear me…suck up to Sean Hannity!
I’ve said it many times: The best hope for Democrats, and for President Obama, is that Republicans will self-destruct in 2010 and 2012. It’s not fool-proof (especially given Democratic mis-steps); it just seems like they do it reliably, roughly twice a day.
In other sad news: Some people are chuckling over the winner of the South Carolina Democratic Senate primary, Alvin Greene. I feel very sorry for him; in interviews with Keith Olbermann, the Washington Post’s Manuel Roig-Franzia, and the New York Times’s Mark Leibovich, he seems a little bit…off. But what’s even more off is the information that’s being revealed about the voting patterns in the crazy primary that elected the unknown Greene, who didn’t make ONE verified campaign stop, over the official party candidate Vic Rawl, a state legislator who ran a real campaign.
Tom Schaller at 538.com reported Friday on the Rawl campaign’s best arguments that something weird happened. Voter turnout was projected to be around 120,000, but it was 190,000. While a silly number of folks have speculated that South Carolina’s strong Democratic base of African Americans elected Greene, recognizing him as black because Greene with an “e” tends to be an African-American surname, there are two problems with that theory. One is that several white South Carolina Democrats beat black Democrats, with black votes, in Tuesday’s statewide Democratic primary. (Also, I’m sorry, since Greene didn’t have a single campaign appearance, I don’t believe most black South Carolina voters knew what race he was, E or no E.) The other is that Greene did better in certain majority white counties than majority black counties. Politico is also reporting irregularities in the vote: Greene is reported to have received more than the number of total votes cast in a few counties.
Again, none of this is proof of GOP vote-tampering in South Carolina. My own skepticism acts up because incumbent GOP Sen. Jim DeMint had little to fear from Rawl in the first place — so why tamper here? Still, Democrats and the media should be paying attention to these questions about the Greene race, not making fun of the hapless non-candidate. I said that on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” today:
Joan Walsh is Salon's editor at large and the author of "What's the Matter With White People: Finding Our Way in the Next America." More Joan Walsh.
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