Is Carly Fiorina conservative? How can you tell if a candidate is conservative?

Carly Fiorina outperforms at first GOP primary debate
Carly Fiorina outperforms at first GOP primary debate

A lot of my friends are getting very excited about Carly Fiorina, and some of them are wondering why she is not on my list. Well, it’s because this is the primary season, and I am looking for someone who 1) is as conservative as me, and 2) has got achievements at advancing a conservative agenda. The key point being that just because a person is outraged at Planned Parenthood cutting into live-born babies, that isn’t the same as being pro-life through all 9 months of pregnancy, except for the case where the life of the mother is threatened.

To take one example, her view of religious liberty is not as conservative as mine, but it isn’t horrible either. Here she is on the Hugh Hewitt show explaining her view:

HH: And let me close our conversation by throwing a hard one at you. There’s a Kentucky county clerk today. She’s refusing to issue licenses to same-sex marriage couples. She’s in comtempt of court in essence. What would your advice be to her?

CF: First, I think that we must protect religious liberties with great passion and be willing to expend a lot of political capital to do so now because it’s clear religious liberty is under assault in many, many ways. Having said that, when you are a government employee, I think you take on a different role. When you are a government employee as opposed to say, an employee of another kind of organization, then in essence, you are agreeing to act as an arm of the government. And, while I disagree with this court’s decision, their actions are clear. And so I think in this particular case, this woman now needs to make a decision that’s [about] conscience:  Is she prepared to continue to work for the government, be paid for by the government in which case she needs to execute the government’s will, or does she feel so strongly about this that she wants to severe her employment with the government and go seek employment elsewhere where her religious liberties would be paramount over her duties as as government employee.

HH: You don’t counsel that she continue civil disobedience?

CF: Given the role that she’s playing. Given the fact that the government is paying her salary, I think that is not appropriate. Now that’s my personal opinion. Others may disagree with that, but I think it’s a very different situation for her than someone in a hospital who’s asked to perform an abortion or someone at a florist who’s asked to serve a gay wedding. I think when you’re a government employee, you are put into a different position honestly.

That’s a view that I can vote for if she is the Republican candidate, but not a view that I prefer when we are still in the GOP primary election. There are better candidates who have stuck their necks out further to champion causes I care about, like religious liberty and natural marriage.

I took a look at Carly’s record using this “On the Issues” web site and was surprised to see that Carly advocates positions more to the right than expected, but still to the left of my favored candidates. She is definitely a Republican, and her stated views are “good enough” for me to enthusiastically support her against any Democrat.

She’s definitely more conservative on same-sex marriage, taxes, abortion, gun control, health care, energy policy than I thought, but not quite as conservative as Jindal, Walker, and Cruz on some of those issues. The only real red flag I saw was supporting the DREAM Act. But she is definitely a Republican, and much more so than people like Romney, Kasich, McCain,, Lindsay Graham.

I really wish that more Republican voters would look at sites like On The Issues, and other sites that grade conservatives like Club for Growth, National Taxpayer Union, the National Rifle Association, and the National Right to Life Committee (PDF), in order to see who the best candidates are from their actions – not from their words during debates, campaign ads, campaign stump speeches, etc. Even a libertarian site like the Cato Institute, which embraces immorality on social issues, has good ratings of governors on fiscal issues (PDF). A person is defined by how they engage in enterprises, not by what they say when asked. Where do you put your money and time? What have you fought for? What have you achieved? You can’t judge a candidate by words and how the words are stated in campaign ads, campaign speeches, or debates – although debating and speaking are important for winning in the general election.

So, where do I stand? I am looking for conservatives who have won long, drawn out fights to get conservative reforms passed. That’s why Carly Fiorina is not on my list of candidates – because I have not seen her leading and achieving in the areas I care about. Her stated views are conservative enough, but now is the time for me to push for the candidates I really want. I have nothing bad to say about her, though, and will support her if she is the GOP candidate. But for now, I’m pushing for Jindal, Walker, and Cruz. I am also OK with Rubio, mostly because, like Santorum, he is so good on foreign policy.

13 thoughts on “Is Carly Fiorina conservative? How can you tell if a candidate is conservative?”

  1. For a candidate to stick one’s neck out is fine, as long as it doesn’t get cut off in the general election. I think a primary voter must factor in electability. That is why, even though Ted Cruz is great on religious liberty and social issues, I don’t support him for the nomination because of his overly aggrieved tone, reputation as one who doesn’t work well with colleagues, and being the poster child of government shutdowns, which don’t play well to crucial independents.

    1. Yes. That’s why he is my third choice behind Walker and Jindal. I also like the way that Rubio answered the question on global warming. He has the conservative view but presents it in a way that is winsome to independents.

    2. Be aware that this is how the media wishes to present him. The fact that he is so detested by the liberal media should tell us a lot. The media would hate and shun me too if I was running for office. In my book, Cruz is far and away the best candidate for the future flourishing of our country. His tone is appropriate for the serious state that the USA is in. We are falling off a cliff, and may be past the point of no return.

  2. I have been impressed with Fiorina’s skills from early in the campaign and am not surprised that she did so well in the debate, but as I have looked into her background it has become clear that she would be a very establishment type of Republican.

    You can cut her some slack for her comments during the California race, where you need to sound more liberal to even have a chance but since then she has:

    Opposed using debt ceiling negotiations for leverage in 2011
    Supported the 2013 Gang of Eight immigration bill enthusiastically
    Attacked Cruz during the shutdown fight in late 2013

    I think this all points to her being a typical Republican who would slow down the liberal agenda, but do little to push it back or promote real conservative reform.

    I too, prefer Jindal, Walker, and Cruz. Sadly, they don’t seem to be getting it done so far.

    1. Those things you list are bad, but not so bad as people like Paul, Christie and Kasich. However, yes, by all means let’s root for the best conservative while we can. I’m not going to try too hard to beat up Carly, mind you.

      1. I don’t disagree. There are far worse candidates. Post debate many conservatives are getting excited about her without knowing very much. I was just providing evidence to go along with your post that she’s probably less conservative than she sounds. I am not arguing that she is liberal, but people should have their eyes open that in several establishment vs. base fights, she has gone with the establishment.

        To her credit, she has probably the best PR skills for a Republican since Reagan. This is not insignificant with the media so actively opposed to any conservative candidate or agenda. Case in point is her PP statement during the debate. Even though the media is outright lying about it, she has them actually talking about it with many conservatives able to post a link to the video they are denying even exists.

        I would definitely support her against Hillary, Sanders, or any other Democrat.

  3. I agree with you 100%, WK. I have considered her background, and it is bothersome to me that, at best, she is pro-life with exceptions (the 2% of cases that are “hard” – rape, incest, and life of mother), and at worst, way too accommodating to those who “disagree with her.” There are other liberal things that she has supported that are reprehensible, and she is wrong (but at least humble) about Kim Davis too.

    If Walker, Jindal, and Cruz will take their gonads out of their wives purses and fully articulate a pro-God, pro-life, peace through strength, “Reagan” position half as well as Fiorina, then I will get off my high horse with her. But, if they are too afraid to even TALK about these things for politically correct reasons at THIS stage, then they don’t get my vote, because if they cannot talk about them in the pre-primary season, why should we expect them to act on them if they win?

    I admit that their record is as good or better than her words. I am waiting for a fighter – someone who will go to the mat and say the politically incorrect words “I will abolish abortion, aggressively defend religious freedom, abolish ObamaDoesntCare, and rebuild our anemic military to kick ass and keep peace around the world, and HERE is how I will do it.” (Followed by the kinds of specifics Fiorina supplied.) Fiorina has not said this exactly either, but she has come the closest.

    But, yes, actions speak louder than words. Gotta be careful here. One of the things I like about her is that she has used the argument that “science proves us [pro-lifers] right more and more each day.” It reminds me of WLC, and many atheists criticize WLC because he talks about science but isn’t a scientist in the same way we criticize Fiorina because she talks about conservative Christian values even if she does not have the real strong background. Her website says she is non-denom Christian, and someone said that they had seen an interview with her some time ago in which she said she had not lived out her faith, but was changing that. Who knows either way?

    But, she may be the only one running to the right in the primary, and she may have the intention of running to the center in the general – in which case, I will be eating so much crow for even mentioning her name. (And confessing my sin to God too.)

  4. “WorldGoneCrazy”,

    It seems to me that you are describing Ted Cruz quite well when you said……
    “…… fully articulate a pro-God, pro-life, peace through strength, “Reagan” position ….”

    No one has been as articulate as Cruz. Just go back and listen to his speeches, his debate comments, etc. The media hates this guy with a passion and have created a caricature that the typical uniformed voter seems to be buying into.

    1. I LOVE Cruz – and he has walked the talk too! He and Jindal are my faves, with Walker close behind. I like Fiorina’s leadership presence slightly better, but I realize that is somewhat subjective. And Cruz has taken on his own too.

        1. I still like Jindal the best – but the GOP won’t let him off the kiddie’s table. Or, maybe his numbers just are not good enough.

  5. Honestly, her support for homosexual civil unions and buying into anthropogenic global warming (from what I’ve read at least) seem to be pretty big red flags for me. Then there’s the abortion issue which everyone has already raised and commented on at length. I see a lot of inconsistency from an ethics point-of-view and (at least an implicit) support for positions which naturally lead in the direction of the things she openly opposes.

    Of course, my opinion as a foreigner matters little, but do make a good choice for all our sakes, my conservative Yank friends. ;)

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