commentary on Politics and a little bit of everything else

Carly Fiorina starts off with a silly mistake……

[ Ms. Fiorina says she was only recounting a friend’s comments about her political opponent, Ms. Boxer. ]

Fiorina made a comment about Califorina Senator Barbara Boxer’s hair….

Not a big deal….

But the media loves ‘open mike’ ramblings…..

And love reporting ‘open mike’ ramblings…..

And they become issues……

Like it …or…not….

In one of those classic campaign gaffes,Carly Fiorina, the Republican nominee for the Senate seat held by Barbara Boxer, the California Democrat, was caught mocking Ms. Boxer’s hair into an open microphone on Wednesday. She also had a few tough words about the newly minted Republican candidate for governor and her B.F.F.-on-the-stump,Meg Whitman.

Ms. Fiorina’s comments were, all told, really no more incendiary than a bit of warm pasta salad — who hasn’t indulged in some off-the-record chitchat about the grooming habits of others now and then? But they presented her with a political problem that could haunt her throughout the campaign.

They both inform and confirm the image from her days as chief executive at Hewlett-Packard that she is tart and unpleasant. And they open the entire campaign to perceptions, however tired or unfair, that women can be dragged down the road of pettiness, perceptions that detract from the serious and pressing issues of the day.

“The fact is that some voters, including many women, find this interesting and no doubt form their character judgments on such matters,” said Bruce E. Cain, a professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley.

“Of course, bad or old-fashioned hair can become a metaphor for being out of step and in need of change,” he added. “I would like to believe that people use the trivial to express their thoughts about what matters, rather than believe that the trivial matters. That said, it is not a good way to start a woman-on-woman race by playing into negative stereotypes about female culture.”

While the comments may be viewed through the prism of sex, they more likely mark Ms. Fiorina as a novice more than anything else. “I think this is a mistake of a rookie candidate who doesn’t know when to keep her mouth shut,” said Garry South, a Democratic strategist in Santa Monica. “If a man had made the comment, it would have been viewed as sexist. When a woman says it, it would be viewed as catty.”

Senator Boxer saw an opening, and took it. “Let her talk about hair; we’re talking about jobs,” said Rose Kapolczynski, her campaign manager.

Video of the episode shows Ms. Fiorina waiting to be interviewed by a Sacramento television station, scrolling through her BlackBerry and asking a staff member why Ms. Whitman would want to appear on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News, which she deemed too tough an interview.

Then, after commentary on the passion for hamburgers shared by her husband and male staff members, Ms. Fiorina somehow pivoted to the locks of her Democratic opponent.

[ Barbara Boxer, whose hair got an unfavorable review from her opponent, Carly Fiorina. ]

“Laura saw Barbara Boxer briefly on television this morning and said what everyone says, ‘God, what is that hair?’ Soooooooo yesterday,” Ms. Fiorina said, scrolling, scrolling.


June 11, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Entertainment, Government, Media, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Updates, Women | , , , , | 5 Comments