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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Fiorina’s Dubious Cheerleader

Hiring Tom Perkins to buff your image is like paying Donald Trump to style your hair.

TechCrunch/ Flickr
TechCrunch/ Flickr
You know your presidential campaign is in a heap of hurt when you need Tom Perkins to defend your “abilities, intellect, and talent.”

But there Perkins was in The New York Times recently, having bought a full-page ad attesting to the presidential worthiness of Carly Fiorina — one of the gaggle of 17 GOP seekers of the White House.

Fiorina is best known for being dumped as CEO of Hewlett-Packard after driving its stock price into the ditch and firing 30,000 workers. She’d recently been the subject of a Times article about her “not so sterling” corporate leadership, so she did indeed need an emergency buff-up on her image.

But by Tom Perkins? That’s like asking Donald Trump to style your hair.

Perkins, a billionaire venture capital huckster, was an unknown until he burst upon the American public early last year with a loud, self-pitying whine.

In a letter to The Wall Street Journal, poor Perkins wailed about “a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent.” Moving from merely crotchety to paranoid nuttiness, Perkins blathered that the “war on the American one percent” is like Nazi Germany’s “war on its one percent, namely its Jews.”

He was, of course, roundly ridiculed for wailing that billionaires like him are “victims,” and he was widely denounced for comparing criticism of the wealthy to the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust. But even public humiliation couldn’t cure his malignant narcissism, so he was soon back in the news with “The Tom Perkins System” to relieve the plight of the put-upon rich.

Voting, he explained, should be like owning stock in a corporation, with rich taxpayers getting more votes: “You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes,” says Tom.

Why would Carly Fiorina want a public testimonial to her competence from a wacko plutocrat like Perkins?

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He edits the populist newsletter, The Hightower