Boxer vs. Fiorina: The People's Senator vs. Privileged CEO

Last night, Sen. Barbara Boxer debated her Republican challenger, disgraced former HP CEO with a golden foot in her mouth, Carly Fiorina.  Not only did Fiorina have no shame about cutting 30,000 jobs at HP and shipping them overseas while taking $100 million in compensation for herself, and that's just in cash compensation, including a $21.4 million golden parachute.  If you want to find out the Fiorina story of self-enrichment at the expense of HP employees, see this Perks and Pinkslips timeline at Fiorina Facts.

The debate included a range of topics (full video available on C-Span), and skipped some I thought were critically important (especially Citizens United and campaign financing), but Sen. Boxer's opening statement really summed up who has been fighting for California all her life and which candidate has looked out for nothing but naked self interest.
SENATOR BOXER: Thanks to the good people of california who have put their faith in me.  And because of that, I've been able to enact thousands of provisions, for our children, the first-ever, after-school program.  For our veterans, the first- ever, comprehensive casualty care center in california for our wounded warriors.  We've doubled the transportation funding.  That means thousand of job -- thousands of jobs.

And jobs are my focus.  That's why I'm working to make california the hub of the new clean energy economy.  That's why I'm working to make sure small business gets access to credit.  And that's why I'm working to stop tax breaks to companies who ship overseas.  Jobs overseas.

And when I talk about shipping jobs overseas, I'm reminded of my opponent.  When she was CEO of Hewlett Packard, before she was terminated, actually, she shipped 30,000 jobs overseas.  Think of it.  That's the size of foster city.  And through all of that pain, what did she do to show any sacrifice?  She took $100 million.

So that reminds me of wall street.  That's what happened on wall street.  Bonuses at the top, paying for -- pain for everyone else.

I want to see the words "made in america" again.  And I ask for your vote.  Thank you.
(Transcript credit to the wonderful people at Livedash.com.)

There are a myriad of issues that Boxer and Fiorina are worlds apart on -- including Fiorina's plan to criminalize women and doctors in contrast with Barbara Boxer's lifelong record of protecting a woman's right to choose -- but this really is the crux of the choice.  Not that Barbara Boxer has ever failed to offer a clear choice to Californians, but this year the choice may the most stark.

On one hand, we have a progressive standard bearer who has fought to keep the children of California away from gangs, to create jobs and a green energy economy, and gone to bat for California's small businesses and small family farms.  On the other side, we have a radical right wing woman of privilege whose life has been devoted to self enrichment at the expense of the employees she was responsible for.  Fiorina eliminated their jobs for her own greed.  And now her greed has reached to a level that she thinks she can buy Senate seat that belongs to the people of California.

Make no mistake.  Fiorina is a woman who almost destroyed one of the best tech companies in the world.  As Arianna Packard, the granddaughter of David Packard (that's the 'Packard' in Hewlett-Packard), herself a Republican, noted in March,
“I know a little bit about Carly Fiorina, having watched her almost destroy the company my grandfather founded. So, allow me to disillusion you of a few of your stated reasons for supporting her,” Packard wrote.

“Most business commentators consider Fiorina's tenure at HP to be a disaster,” Packard continued. “The stock price dropped by 50% only to rally 10% on the announcement of her firing. She fired 28,000 people before she herself was fired, departing with the 21 million dollar golden parachute that is financing her campaign.”
Ms Packard may be a Republican, but she knows when some greedy CEO is trying to screw with her grandfather's handy work.

Fiorina also has a familiar attitude: I got mine, now screw you.  While Sen. Boxer has been pushing hard against Republican opposition to small business and community bank funding, Fiorina opposes that funding.  Boxer fought to protect the jobs of California teachers so that they are there as the students come back to school, Fiorina stood opposed to California's school-children.  However, Fiorina would like you to know that she would like her Bush tax cuts made permanent and that she is very worried that she won't be able to pass on her money, made at the expense of her employees, to her inheritors.

Let's move on to some other issues California cares a great deal about.  We Californians believe in a woman's right to make her own medical reproductive decision.  We do not want the government butting into our doctor's offices or kitchen tables and make that decision for women.  In order to protect the privacy of families as well as the safety of young girls, we have beat back three consecutive "parental notification/consent" initiatives.  Sen. Boxer is a steadfast defender of that Constitutionally protected right, while Fiorina would criminalize it.  She would criminalize women who have it as well as the doctors who perform the medical procedure.  Fiorina tried to sell her position as defending "states' rights," but not once did she contradict Sen. Boxer's charge that she would criminalize it.

Dear Carly, we Californians like out federal legislators to defend the rights of individuals, including that of women to have a safe, accessible and affordable abortion.

Asked about whether same sex couples should have access to the federal rights of marriage, Barbara Boxer courageously and proudly came out in support of the marriage equality, and our right to have all the federal benefits of marriage conferred to us if and when we choose to do so.  Fiorina hid behind the conservative veil of activist-judge-overturning-the-people's-vote (Prop 8), entirely avoiding even the issue of federal benefits.

Another issue Californians care about is our environment.  We want to breathe clean air.  Barbara Boxer took a stand against the oil and coal industry funded Proposition 23 that would overturn the California Clean Air Act (AB 32).  Fiornia?  In a spectacular display of cowardice and pandering, she refused to take a stand, but she did take the opportunity to call California's clean air and clean energy policy a "job killer."
Moderator: So time is up. But you didn't answer part of Pilar's question, which is, do you support Prop 23, which would suspend AB-32.

FIORINA: My focus is on a national energy policy.

Moderator: Yes or no. Just answer, do you support it?

FIORINA: I have not taken a position on it yet. I think what we're doing -- there is no question in my mind and no question in those who have studied AB32, that AB32 is at the very least, in the short term a job killer. So why would we go forward? But what we need is national energy policy.

Moderator: Senator boxer?

SENATOR BOXER: Well, if you can't take a stand on Prop 23, I don't know what you will take a stand on. This is a crucial bill. And I'll tell you the reason why. If we overturn california's clean energy policies, that's going to mean that China takes the lead away from us with solar, that Germany takes the lead from us with wind.

But I guess my opponent is kind of used to creating jobs in china and other places. I want those jobs created here in america. I want to see the words "made in america" again. And this is the way we're going to do it.

The whole world is going green. And I know that my opponent has gotten huge support from the coal companies, from big oil. They are hoping that I don't make it. And I am asking the people of this state who care about these issues to really take note. Because if my opponent gets there, california is done for, in terms of its lead on clean energy.
There you have it.  Fiorina thinks clean energy is a job killer, won't take a position on turning rolling back California's clean energy policy, and big oil and big coal are terrified of Barbara Boxer.

This is the choice before Californians -- but to a degree this is also the choice before all Americans.  No matter where you are in America, you can help keep a real champion of progressive causes, Barbara Boxer, in the Senate.  Donate if you can.  Call everyone you know in California, and tell them why it's crucial they vote for Boxer.  We have a choice to make - do we want the Barbara Boxers of the world to continue to give voice to the voiceless in the halls of power?  Or do we want failed job-cutting self-enriching corporate CEOs to take over?