Demented? On Carly Fiorina’s Looks, on the Criticism of Those Looks by the Ladies on The View, and on Kirsten Powers’s Defense of Fiorina
By Ken K. Gourdin
I often disagree with Kirsten Powers. If we were members of the same representative assembly, we would be on opposite sides of the aisle. But I respect Ms. Powers because, perhaps more than anyone else I have heard, she’s willing to call out those who align with her politically when they cross lines that shouldn’t be crossed, or when they do or say things that are out of bounds.
Indeed, there are times (rare though they may be) when all isn’t fair in love, war, and politics and where the ends really don’t justify the political means. However else we might disagree, Ms. Powers recognizes this. Thus, it is read with great interest that I read Ms. Powers’s column in USA Today regarding the treatment Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina received from the panelists on the television talk show The View, one of whom implied that Ms. Fiorina’s smile is fake and called it “demented.” For her column, see here (last accessed November 11, 2015):
One wonders if, in the interest of being consistent, any of The View’s ladies leveled a similar criticism against presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s plan to be more spontaneous (see, e.g., Amy Chozick (September 7, 2015) “Hillary Clinton to show more humor and heart,” The New York Times, accessed on line on November 11, 2015 at the following address:
Ms. Powers notes the ideological imbalance in The View’s panel of hosts. In and of itself, that’s not necessarily a problem as long as viewers know what they’re in for: true to its title, viewers are going to receive a single perspective on issues discussed. Those who are apt to agree with the panel’s take on things are free to tune in, while there are plenty of other viewing options for anyone else. She also notes that the fact that many people find Ms. Fiorina’s treatment on The View problematic isn’t simply because of their lack of a sense of humor.
One thing Ms. Powers didn’t note is that formerly, there was more ideological diversity on The View’s panel when the more conservative Elizabeth Hasselbeck was among its number. Although Fox News often is excoriated (overwhelmingly by those who don’t watch it) as lacking ideological diversity, Ms. Powers herself, as a frequent Fox News contributor, is evidence against that assertion. Ironically, Ms. Hasselbeck left The View for Fox News.
Along with the ladies on The View, Fellow Republican candidate Donald Trump rightly was excoriated for criticizing Ms. Fiorina for her looks, asking who would vote for someone with a face like that. Mr. Trump later backpedaled with what struck me as a disingenous assertion that he thinks Ms. Fiorina is “beautiful.” Color me, for one, skeptical about that assertion, Mr. Trump.
As Ms. Powers pointed out in her column, this election shouldn’t be about anyone’s looks: rather, it should be about her policies and about her ability to govern. Ms. Fiorina may lack experience in the political and policy arenas, respectively, and she may need to compensate for that by surrounding herself with the right people, but personally, I have no question that she would be able to govern effectively as long as she has the right people around her.
The White House’s current occupant, by contrast, seems to be afflicted with a case of pathological brilliance: he seems to think he’s the smartest person in any room he enters, and, since his brilliance is self-evident, that anyone with whom he deals should simply defer to him on that basis alone. (And while we’re on that subject, Mr. Trump, too, seems to be afflicted with that malady: I don’t think it’s any less of a problem when it occurs among Republicans than it is when it occurs among Democrats.)
Still, if someone (whether Republican or Democrat) insists on making this election about looks, I would be far more inclined to vote for Ms. Fiorina on that basis than I ever would be to vote for Mrs. Clinton—or for Mr. Trump, for that matter. Who would vote for someone with a face like that? The opinions of Mr. Trump and the ladies of The View to the contrary notwithstanding, I, for one, hope I look half as good as Ms. Fiorina does now when I’m her age.
Don’t misunderstand: It’s not that I think that all criticism of Ms. Fiorina is out of bounds. I simply think that such criticism should be based on her positions on the issues. Personally, I don’t care if she looks as demented as the Medusa—as long as she can govern effectively.