Two women are running for President. One is Democrat Hillary Clinton. The other is Republican Carly Fiorina. Let's compare and contrast them.
Clinton says the prospect of her being the first female President is a reason to vote for her. Fiorina does not, and instead says that she is “ready to beat Hillary” by effectively countering, if not altogether shutting down, this Clinton pitch.
Clinton, who would be 69 if and when inaugurated, says, “I may not be the youngest candidate in this race, but I will be the youngest woman president in the history of the United States.” Fiorina, 60, would be an even younger one.
Clinton rose to prominence on the coattails of her husband, the amoral, dishonest, and venal Bill Clinton. Fiorina rose to prominence on her own merits.
Clinton personifies America's professional political class. Fiorina says the Founders never envisioned such a thing and intended citizen leaders such as her instead.
Clinton's defining personal crisis was probably Bill's extra-marital affair and public lying about it or losing the Democratic presidential nomination to Barack Obama in 2008. Fiorina is a breast cancer survivor who lost an adult daughter to addiction.
Clinton is a creature of government with precious little private sector experience. Fiorina is a product of the private sector, having started as a secretary for a small real estate business who worked her way up to be the chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard, a Fortune 50 company and one of the world's technology leaders.
Clinton has never been held accountable for anything, whether her good fortune in cattle futures or the law firm billing records that went missing before mysteriously reappearing in the White House during her time as First Lady, or her ridiculous Russian reset, the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, or breaking the law by using a private e-mail server as Secretary of State. Fiorina has been held accountable, and was ousted at Hewlett-Packard after several considerable successes.
Clinton has avoided the press and ducks hard questions. Fiorina forthrightly answers every question asked of her.
Clinton campaigns in a protective cocoon of staged events with hand-picked participants. Fiorina is among the people at open events.
Clinton's finances are a Byzantine and secretive affair, with lots of unanswered questions about how paid speeches by Bill and her and big contributions to their family foundation may have influenced U.S. policy and financed their personal lifestyle. Fiorina says leadership requires “trust and transparency” and has released an extremely detailed financial disclosure statement.
Clinton has not answered questions about the foundation finances, but nonetheless says she will let the “American people make their own judgments.” Fiorina says, “It's the Clinton way: raking in millions from foreign governments behind closed doors while making promises about transparency that they never intended to keep.”
Clinton panders to liberal interest groups and is positioning herself to the left of even the Obama administration by doubling-down on high-tax, heavy-regulation, and naive policies that have produced stagnation at home and vulnerability abroad. Fiorina champions growth-oriented policies, reform of the incompetent federal bureaucracy, and American strength around the world.
Clinton presents herself as a “politician of inter-class struggle” per one national pundit, and wants more government programs to redistribute wealth. Fiorina wants more entrepreneurship to unlock human potential and reduce dependency on government.
Clinton defends the misguided Dodd-Frank financial regulation law that has maintained banks that are “too big to fail” while hurting community banks. Fiorina says the law has had a demonstrably bad impact.
Clinton supports a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Fiorina would secure the borders, reform legal immigration and opposes citizenship for illegal immigrants while being open to a form of legal status for those who meet strict conditions.
Clinton is pro-choice and stridently opposes the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act that limits abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Fiorina is pro-life, strongly supports that bill, and backs over-the-counter birth control to “drive down prices and increase availability.”
Clinton became Secretary of State after losing her presidential bid in 2008. Fiorina would make a good Vice-Presidential pick if she loses hers.
Clinton and Fiorina are both women who are running for President. Other than having those two things in common, they could not be more different.
Clinton is the current favorite. Fiorina is now polling in the single-digits. This deplorable and depressing reality just shows how absurdly out of whack the American political system is.
(John David Dyche is a Louisville attorney and a political commentator for WDRB.com. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jddyche.)