Thursday, October 01, 2015


I'm still stunned that Carly Fiorina -- aka Wendell Willkie If He Sucked at His Job -- is doing so well in GOP Presidential polling. It's hard to imagine that many people saying, "That's who I want running the country -- someone who wrecked a big company and has an inspirational backstory."

I do understand her appeal to rightwing factota, though, as a female conservative in the Age of Hillary, so I'm not shocked that Fiorina campaign talking points would appear in outlets like National Review under reporters' bylines ("Secretariat also had what’s called the 'x-factor,' a gene located on the X-chromosome that causes an unusually large heart. Fiorina says she identifies with this").

But by and large these don't take a lot of effort -- just put the press release in the Hackit app and you're done!  Megan McArdle, bless her, seems to have expended some effort to explain why Fiorina's horrible record is no reason to count her out, and that makes it all the more poignant:
Critiques of Fiorina’s tenure seem excessively focused on the outcome.
Look, if you guys bailed right now, I wouldn't be upset.
People are far too prone to confuse outcomes with good decision-making. Surgeons who do everything right will sometimes see patients die anyway -- and many doctors who fail to wash their hands send a happy, healthy patient home at the end. The important thing is to know whether you followed a process that gives you the best odds, not what happened in an individual case. Too many of Fiorina’s critics pointed out that the company lost shareholder value, then settled back with a satisfied QED.
How can we ever really know whether bad outcomes mean bad decisions? By daring to judge her, we risk being unfair to this person who has never held elective office and ended her biggest job in the center of a flaming crater, holding a burnt match. Look at the situation from her point of view -- not that of a citizen whose future will be strongly effected by the outcome of a Presidential race. Think of someone besides yourself!

It's like that Iraq War thing: Just because McArdle was wrong and you were right (" you get credit for being right, or being lucky? In some way, they got it just as wrong as I did...") doesn't mean you should be the Bloomberg columnist. Hmmph!

UPDATE. In comments (always read the comments! Here, I mean; elsewhere, never), mortimer2000 pulls out this bit from McArdle's column...
But there’s another point to be made, too, which is that I’m simply not sure how much this matters. Fiorina could be the best CEO in the world, or the worst, and that wouldn’t give us much insight into how she’d do as president.
...and asks, "So Fiorina is running for president based on her background and experience as what? A person?" No, silly, as a Republican. Credentials not necessary!

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