Sunday, September 27, 2015

Bonnet blanc, blanc bonnet

It is by now clear that, if the finalists were Trump and Fiorina, the voters have to choose between two confabulating narcissists.

Trump supporters are basically aware of these traits in their candidate, but excuse them, for reasons both well- and ill-advised.   Fiorina is less widely known (she didn’t even make the Grownups Table of the first debate), but is starkly limned here, fresh this morning:

The candor of that piece is noteworthy, given the source:  one might have expected the Post to offer qualified support for Fiorina, both as a woman and as the anti-Trump.

One footnote.
The article well details the fiasco of her Hewlett-Packard tenure, on which (paradoxically) she is principally running: her ace- is more like a deuce-in-the-hole.  She had only one notable role as a business executive prior to that, which the article barely touches on;  here, in full:

Fiorina had become one of [AT&T]'s most visible rock stars, spearheading the $3 billion spinoff of Lucent Technologies, then the biggest stock-market debut in U.S. history. The hyper-growth firm would crumple after her departure, but not before bolstering Fiorina’s reputation as an aggressive dealmaker with a golden touch. In 1998, Fortune trumpeted her tireless work ethic and sales tactics, and crowned her, at 44, “the most powerful woman in American business.”

Now, thus decontextualized, that “crumple after her departure” might be unfair:  perhaps that was just bad luck, or whatever.   So we checked the history in Wikipedia, and found something really sobering:

On the surface, Fiorina seemed to add 22,000 jobs & revenues grew from US$19 billion to US$38 billion. However, the real cause of Lucent spurring sales under Fiorina was by lending money to their own customers. According to Fortune magazine, "In a neat bit of accounting magic, money from the loans began to appear on Lucent’s income statement as new revenue while the dicey debt got stashed on its balance sheet as an allegedly solid asset". Lucent's stock price grew 10-fold.
At the start of 2000, Lucent's "private bubble burst", while other competitors like Nortel Networks and Alcatel were still going strong as it would be many months before the rest of the telecom industry bubble collapsed.

In other words, she wasn’t merely an inept business-leader, but a distinctly sketchy one.   That is the sort of scam that should interest the Securities and Exchange Commission, if not indeed the DoJ.

[Note:  The proverb that titles this post  means “Not a dime’s worth of difference between them”, as someone-or-other once said.]

[Update]   And now, a severe WaPo editorial re Fiorina's fact-challenged strategy of fuite en avant:

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