Revolution in California and political regime change come November has been a theme of mine for weeks. Tuesday night’s big victories for Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina moved that agenda nicely down the field.
And let me add to it. Following the Tuesday primaries, the mainstream media began calling this the year of the woman, pointing not only to Fiorina and Whitman in California, but to Sharron Angle in Nevada, Nikki Haley in South Carolina and Democrat Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas.
But we need a qualifier here. This is really going to be the year of the women from the past versus the women for the future.
In Arkansas, for example, Blanche Lincoln stands a good chance of losing her Senate seat to Republican House member John Boozman. Lincoln is a reliable Obama vote — make that a reliable Obama/Harry Reid vote — for issues like the stimulus package, Obamacare, cap-and-trade and bank reform (even with the ruckus she made over forcing banks to spin off their derivative operations).
In California, the Carly Fiorina/Barbara Boxer matchup — likely to be the marquis Senate race nationwide — is a battle between a woman of the liberal-left Washington past and a woman who is a fiscally conservative outsider of the future. Recovering from cancer, and running in a tough primary, Fiorina demonstrated a steely inner strength that reminded one of Margaret Thatcher as she trounced her rivals by a wide margin.
The subject of this year’s election will be the fiscal catastrophe coming out of Washington, D.C.: overspending, over-borrowing, over-deficit-making, overtaxing, over-regulating and over-government-controlling. Obama’s Washington is about welfare-state redistribution, the European model that has failed so miserably across the pond.
In contrast, Carly Fiorina’s model is about entrepreneurship, growth and opportunity — the basic American values of economic freedom that have been shunted aside in our nation’s capital.
Fiorina wants spending controls and limited government. She opposed the $860 billion stimulus as well as Obamacare. She is a smart, fiscally conservative woman who has campaigned on lower income-tax rates, a reduced capital-gains tax and the elimination of the estate tax. And she can be expected to push for a lower business-tax rate for large and small companies.
The former HP CEO understands that only healthy businesses create new jobs and that healthy businesses require investment. She believes in the old-fashioned, but tried-and-true, axiom that economic growth can only come from the private sector, and not from government spending.
Benefiting enormously from a campaign endorsement by Sarah Palin, Fiorina is also pro-life, pro-traditional-marriage, pro-free-trade and very tough on border security in the immigration debate. But as pollster Kellyanne Conway told me Tuesday night on CNBC, Fiorina is a new kind of Republican woman. She is not running on so-called gender issues, but rather on fiscal-and-economic-growth issues, at a time when the economy is barely recovering from a long and painful downturn.
The California unemployment rate is 12.5 percent. Nationwide, the jobless rate is still hovering around 10 percent. Big government will not fix that. A return to opportunity-oriented incentives and rewards for workers, producers, and investors will.
Rather than a back-to-the-future, European model, the high-tech oriented Fiorina believes in the American model of economic freedom and creativity. Unleash the entrepreneur, but limit the government. This is why she can defeat the ultra-liberal Barbara Boxer, a radical cap-and-trade energy regulator and another sure vote for Obama who has been around for decades and has compiled one of the worst tax-and-spend records in Senate history.
Boxer is already attacking Fiorina for — heaven forbid — running a company efficiently and, yes, sometimes laying off workers when necessary. But this is a trap for Boxer, for it is exactly Fiorina’s business experience that makes her so attractive to voters fed up with Washington’s fiscal calamity. The issue now is laying off government workers; cutting back on oversized government union salaries and pensions; curbing the corrupt and corrosive power of the SEIU and AFL-CIO that is fast bankrupting America and literally pulling money out of taxpayer wallets in the process.
Career politicians are going to get slammed in this election. But it’s more than that. The mood out there is not just anti-incumbent. It’s anti-Obama’s Washington. The new breed of Republican women knows that what matters is fixing the future, not replicating the past few years.
That’s why Carly Fiorina can win.