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Reich writes: "Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina has been a hawk on Iran - criticizing Obama for his willingness to relax economic sanctions."

Robert Reich. (photo: Getty Images)
Robert Reich. (photo: Getty Images)


Carly Fiorina's Hypocrisy

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Facebook Page

15 September 15

 

ypocrisy? Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina has been a hawk on Iran – criticizing Obama for his willingness to relax economic sanctions; claiming the sanctions are “unraveling fast” which she terms a “dangerous development,” warning that Europe is rushing to open the Iranian economy, and accusing Iran of cheating on the sanctions.

Yet when she was CEO of Hewlett-Packard (according to today's Bloomberg News), the company circumvented strict export sanctions on Iran (imposed by Bill Clinton in 1995) by selling hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of products to Iran through a European subsidiary and a Middle Eastern distributor – allowing HP to obtain 41 percent of the Iranian market for printers by 2007. HP’s general manager for the Middle East was quoted as saying, "Iran is a big market for Hewlett-Packard printers.” Moreover, during her tenure at HP, the corporation’s in-house lobbyists pressed Congress to relax economic sanctions, presumably so HP could sell even more to Iran.

Running a business is different from running for president. But if you’re making your business experience the cornerstone of your argument for why you should be president, some consistency might be expected.

What do you think?


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Comments   

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-94 # davidr 2015-09-15 11:26
Hypocrisy is galling, but it's pretty much universal, and even as a matter of degree, it only begs more important questions about someone's self-awareness, temperament & intent. If money is the mother's milk of politics, hypocrisy is its clothing & party its shelter.

The case for hypocrisy is too easy to make, and worse, it's too superficial. Carly changed her mind & maybe her stripes. So what? Why she sold stuff to Iran or even how she did so are more gossip & gotcha than political critique. The important questions are how her current policy position on Iran is in the national security interest of the US and (ii) what quality of thought can she summon to answer serious objections to her vapid talking point.
 
 
+121 # bardphile 2015-09-15 13:44
Hypocrisy is still relevant, though. The willingness of corporations to undercut
national policy in search of profits should be of concern to all of us. It is to me.
 
 
+99 # Reductio Ad Absurdum 2015-09-15 13:45
NOPE. Fiorina's inconsistencies are doubly hypocritical in that they are antithetical to those self-assessed values about which the Republicans hubristically pride themselves — CHARACTER and RESPECT FOR LAW & ORDER. The double standard she demonstrated as HP CEO proves she has neither value.
 
 
+20 # Dongi 2015-09-15 21:47
What Republican does have them? They care about money, nothing else!
 
 
+69 # Merlin 2015-09-15 14:55
davidr 2015-09-15 11:26

David, I hear you saying that because everyone is doing it, that is no longer an important issue to consider. If that is your position, I do disagree with you strongly. Hypocrisy is essentially a trust issue, and if you are shown to violate trust, that is an important condition for a person who has her finger on the nuclear button or on the issues of climate change. Trust is an essential part of a leadership position as we learned from our current President.

Sadly, people remain pretty much the same throughout their lives emotionally, and only change in superficial ways, or on issues of small importance. (Sort of saying, “Once a liar, always a liar.” etc.) The opposite also generally holds true. A person who lives by principal will continue to do that, and will be a person we can trust.

Carly is just not trustable, however you choose to look at her. Bernie is!
 
 
-13 # davidr 2015-09-15 18:17
I don't deny that Fiorina is a hypocrite, nor would I dream of supporting her for public office. I simply say that the charge of hypocrisy is trivial. It is just one step short of the rejoinder, "Oh yeah!" Hypocrisy is so built into the behavior of human beings in society that it reveals much less about character than we think it does.

Let me ask you, who would more easily have escaped the charge of hypocrisy: a Northern Abolitionist or a Southern Secessionist? At even odds, I think the Southerner is the winning bet. But their respective hypocrisy, sincerity, cynicism, candor, you name it — none of that had anything to do with the political choices at issue.

Ask a Trump supporter & a Sanders supporter what they like about their guy, & they'll both get around to citing his lack of hypocrisy. But would either camp vote for the other candidate? Never. Hypocrisy is a criterion that has no real meaning. It isn't about policy, and it's rarely even much about character, a venial sin at worst. Did we vote against Romney for his two-facedness or because he really wanted to starve the 47%? I voted against him for his sincerity, not for his hypocrisy.

To me, hypocrisy is a topic that gives the same pleasure as gossip. It is not the real reason to vote against Fiorina or anyone else.
 
 
+14 # BobboMax 2015-09-15 19:53
@davidr;
I can't disagree that hypocrisy is endemic in humans- I think it affects almost everyone but you and me and sometimes I wonder about you.

Nonetheless I think it's a useful guide to character. If nothing else, in the words of Justice Stewart, "I know when I see it." Often, I think it's what Professor Frankfurt calls bullshit- not really a lie because a liar knows the truth- the bullshitter has no relationship with truth- he (usually) lives in the moment and has no ability to compare it to the past.

I think Dubya and The Donald are bullshitters, whereas I think Boehner is a genuine hypocrite, as cynical as they come. I don't perceive Sanders as either- I think he works hard at being consistent and truthful- he's as earnest as a dental hygienist. I don't know where to place Hillary- probably garden variety bullshitter as opposed to a maestro like The Donald.

In any case, I see political hypocrisy as so common that I think we need a neologism- hypocracy- government by hypocrites.
 
 
-10 # davidr 2015-09-15 20:32
I like "hypocracy". And, if the choice were between hypocracy & government by true believers, I'm sure I'd often vote hypocrat.
 
 
+5 # BobboMax 2015-09-15 21:20
Ref hypocrats vs. true believers, yeah, I hear ya.

But I have to say, I regard many "true believers" as hypocrites, in the sense they seem unwilling to examine the inconsistencies inherent in their positions, either sequential or coincident. It may well be that in many cases, "unwilling" is in fact "unable". I just don't understand humans well enough to say.
 
 
-7 # Dongi 2015-09-15 21:48
Merlin, are you living in our world?
 
 
+9 # Merlin 2015-09-16 02:56
Dongi 2015-09-15 21:48

Hi Don,

Haha. Good question! Of course you aren’t the first to ask it you know. Sometimes people do stare at me after I say something.

Well, if you mean this world as you describe yourself below, I must admit to not belonging to your world.

About You:
Retired, troublemaker, shamanic-healer , psychic, walks with angels.

About me:
At 80, I’m still working in my small business. I gave up troublemaking in my 20s as it was just too much trouble. (Pun intended.) Healing? The only person I might be able to heal is me, and I am still a work in progress. As to being psychic, I gave that up too! (I was wrong so often, gamblers I knew, took the opposite side of anything I said.) And of course the only angel I walk with in my current life is my lovely pussycat. My other two human angels reside in small urns on my desk. (Its one of the downsides of getting old.)

BTW, I enjoy your comments.
 
 
0 # Dongi 2015-09-16 08:14
Merlin, Thanks for the self description and the nice comment. If you ever need healing, just ask. Shamans don't get involved unless asked. Then, watch out. Like this AM before I sat down at the computer. Have a great day.
 
 
+28 # carneyva 2015-09-15 16:36
Character is typically defined as what you do when you think nobody is looking. Carly Fiorina stiffed nearly all of her campaign staff from her 2005 Senate run against Barbara Boxer - peanuts, considering her $42 million golden parachute from HP. So the last thing she does - ten years after the fact - is go back and pay those people. THEN she announces for the presidency. And that, folks, is who she really is.
 
 
+7 # BobboMax 2015-09-15 19:55
Ref Ms. Fiorina's possible change of mind- despite what my broker says, past performance is often an indicator of future behavior.
 
 
+7 # motamanx 2015-09-16 13:30
I am quite sure that Carly does not know a damn thing about Iran except that which AIPAC tells her.
 
 
+3 # Karlus58 2015-09-16 17:30
Its much more than hypocrisy and it's glaring in your face.
 
 
+62 # sfintersect 2015-09-15 13:09
I would hope that she will be challenged on this subject. Perhaps, Mr. Reich, you could make sure that Jake Tapper, who is moderating the CNN debate hears from you on this matter. I have a feeling he'd be much more inclined to taking your call than mine.
 
 
+47 # Barbara K 2015-09-15 13:10
Shameless lies, stupidity and hypocrisy run rampant in the Stupid Party. It seems to be expected from them, and that is the shame. We should have people we can believe in and trust running this country. This one doesn't fit the bill, as the entire party of the Clowns have gone roaming in the Clown Car.

..
 
 
+50 # moby doug 2015-09-15 14:47
Fiorina devastated a great corporation, Hewlett-Packard , when she was CEO. HP, years later, is still trying to dig its way out of the hole she dug. Imagine what she'll do if she's CEO of the U.S.
 
 
+7 # Dongi 2015-09-15 21:57
Her scope for negative impact would be incredible. She might even bring down a powerful nation. Where do the Republicans find such gems?
 
 
+3 # Merlin 2015-09-16 03:06
Dongi 2015-09-15 21:57

“Where do the Republicans find such gems?”

Actually rumor has it they come from the coal mines. However, only they believe what they find are gems. They can’t tell pyrite from the real thing.
 
 
+46 # ChrisCurrie 2015-09-15 14:48
Carly was CEO of HP for about 5 years but she got fired from that job, because she made A LOT of very serious mistakes as HP's CEO. She ended up killing far more US jobs than she created and reduced the value of HP stocks to half of what there were when she became the HP CEO. So her claims to be a "successful business woman" are, well, dishonest!
 
 
+6 # Dongi 2015-09-15 21:59
You expect honesty from the Republicans?
 
 
+4 # Merlin 2015-09-16 03:21
Dongi 2015-09-15 21:59
You query:
“You expect honesty from the Republicans?”

Please Don, where is your faith? (Uh Oh, there is another one of those dangerous words.) Surely you have at least heard about the “Honesty Diploma” hanging behind her desk. She graduated with a PhD (piled higher and deeper) degree, with honors from NLU (Neo-Liberal University.) Her resume is deep! (And I will let you figure out how deep it is, and what it is full of.) If you need a reference, see Donald tRump.
 
 
+26 # Firefox11 2015-09-15 15:08
[quote name="davidr"]
The case for hypocrisy is too easy to make, and worse, it's too superficial. Carly changed her mind & maybe her stripes. So what? Why she sold stuff to Iran or even how she did so are more gossip & gotcha than political critique.

Why a Presidential candidate broke the law as CEO of a major company is irrelevant? This apparent lack of integrity is hardly gossip, particularly when she is making speeches about crony capitalism being the root of the economic problem here in the U.S.
 
 
+2 # Dongi 2015-09-15 22:09
Firefox11 you are using a dangerous word, "integrity." An important concept and at the core of a democracy. Forget Davidr, he is a throw back to another era which didn't believe in honesty and honor. Nor if I read him right - integrity.
 
 
+23 # reiverpacific 2015-09-15 15:12
International Corporate Capitalism is about mass exploitation of those in desperate need, extraction and processing of their resources and lands and the total hypocrisy of converting them into massive profit, with the dual hypocrisy of offshore tax havens so any these profits are not contributed to the common cause.
Fiorina obviously knows this as well as any of her ilk.
I'm an economic ignoramus but even I can dig that.
 
 
+6 # vilstef 2015-09-15 19:08
I find her business experience irrelevant and her hypocrisy expected. She will not be President, just like tRump and me.
 
 
0 # MidwestTom 2015-09-15 21:14
It is amazing what politicians will de for AIPAC ,money.
 
 
+2 # Dongi 2015-09-15 22:19
There is also the fear factor. Oppose AIPAC and expect a well financed opponent in your next election like what happened to Cynthia McKinney. AIPAC plays hardball. Who would believe that the American Congress is in psychological servitude to the state of Israel? And, the Tea Party idiots like Israel because that's where the end days will occur. Nothing like mixing church and state.
 
 
+1 # motamanx 2015-09-16 13:33
AIPAC SHOULD BE BANISHED.
 
 
+1 # JSRaleigh 2015-09-16 10:25
I think I'm not at all surprised that another Tea-Bagger turns out to be a hypocrite. It's why I won't vote for 'em no matter how much they claim to have changed their tune.
 
 
-2 # wmarcelle@earthlink.net 2015-09-17 13:18
FIORINA would make an excellent AMERICAN PRESIDENT! She exemplifies exactly what the American government and CORPORATIST AMERICA is all about!
 
 
0 # chaucer2 2015-09-17 17:33
Is this: a tryout for Saturday Night Live...Of course not; These arms length deciders are heavily financed and have too much at stake$ Hooray for the first time I heard Rand Paul say the honest to G...d truth: Iraq had a dictator who kept Iran in line!!! He took care of the situation for us....... What a mess, and they blame it on Obama.......!!! ! Who, would have wanted to "take over", facing that impossible mess. Do they even give a thought to so many maimed kids who came back from Iraq, Of course not... they want to protect, not the rights and health of a girl, or a woman, but give no funding or support to the human being that they insist should carry this zygote, embryo, fetus!!! Maybe they are brilliant and they focus on Woman's Rights, rather than to Perhap acknowledge and visit boys and girls who returned from: boots on the ground.. without arms and feet and legs.....and faces!!!! These joksters made me very sad. THEY HAVE PERPETUATED THE TEFLON PERSON.
 
 
+1 # Capn Canard 2015-09-18 15:37
Carly Fiorina, like executives everywhere, is a dirty rotten criminal to the core...
 

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