No Republican presidential candidate has benefited more than Carly Fiorina from the party’s two debate doubleheaders, and as a result some lefty pundits sought to take her down a peg in their commentary on Wednesday’s Reagan Library events.
Besides the blogger who alleged that Fiorina “launch[ed] pure crapola into the stratosphere” and “lied her ass off,” Adele Stan of The American Prospect argued that Fiorina’s “evil genius…is her uncanny ability to play the gender warrior within the GOP while promoting the party’s misogyny…But her feminism seems to begin and end with the fortunes of Fiorina herself, and seeing as she probably doesn’t rely on Planned Parenthood for her health care, she’s happy to deprive millions of women of that care by promoting outright lies about the organization.”
Vox’s Ezra Klein claimed that Fiorina “didn't actually know what she was talking about” and that she “has a notable facility for delivering answers that thrill conservatives but fall apart under close examination.” Klein opined fatalistically that accuracy is a minor factor in American electoral politics: “If presidential campaigns were decided by fact checkers, Al Gore would have won in a landslide.”
Some analysts made broad, negative statements about the GOP based on a debate discussion of childhood vaccines. Michelle Goldberg of The Nation asserted that the candidates “made a quiet calculation, which may have been correct, that you can’t win a Republican primary by being on the side of science, reason and the public good.” The New Yorker’s Amy Davidson declared, “The exchange was of a piece with the rest of the debate and with the state of the Republican Party: fervid, claustrophobic, recklessly insinuating, and, at the same time, utterly timid when it comes to extremism in its own ranks.”
Speaking of broad, negative statements, New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait charged that “the debate revealed a party wedded to the tenets of [George W.] Bushism — rabid, debt-financed, regressive tax-cutting, reflexive hostility to regulation, and a pervasive anti-intellectualism…The party’s decades-long flight from empiricism and reason shows no sign of abating. Alas, from Trump to Rubio to Carly Fiorina, it is filled with talented demagogues well suited to pitch America on nonsense.”
Finally, The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky contended that the winner of the debate was a woman, but it wasn’t Fiorina -- in fact, it wasn't even a Republican:
[Y]ou wanna know who really won that debate? Hillary Clinton...
…[T]he whole thing was ridiculous. The jokers are ahead [in the polls], and they haven’t offered a serious proposal among them. The allegedly serious [candidates] are mostly just doing what Mitt Romney did, to his peril, in 2012, jumping up in front of the base saying, “See, I can be crazy right-wing, too!”
Clinton is putting forward policy after policy that address America’s great problems. These people are just making stuff up.