Since when are we on a first-name basis?
By Jo-Ann Armao
Carly Fiorina’s campaign for a California Senate seat is less than 24 hours old, so I was wondering if I could make a suggestion to the candidate? Refrain from referring to yourself by your first name, and please, please ditch the “Carly For California” slogan.
Admittedly, I have never managed a political campaign, so perhaps there are advantages in having an alliterative slogan. Maybe it helps to have voters thinking they are on a first-name basis with you. Indeed, my colleague Jonathan Capehart tells me that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg uses the moniker “Mike” to make himself seem more of the people. (Here’s a better idea, “Mike”: don’t spend $90 million of your own money to get reelected).
For my part, I want my elected officials to be serious -- people with real gravitas and strength. When I got the first e-mailed release from “Carly For California,” the image that flashed in my head was more cheerleader than lawmaker. Yes, politicians other than Fiorina and Bloomberg use their first names. Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss can get away with it because Saxby actually sounds like a last name. Ted Kennedy could do it because he was a Kennedy. And, Hillary Clinton gets a pass because (having foolishly discarded her maiden name in a bid to make herself more acceptable to traditionalists) she has to distinguish herself from her husband.
By no means am I suggesting that Fiorina is a lightweight. A woman who started her career as a secretary and went on to become the first, and only, woman to lead a Fortune 20 company is not to be underestimated, but respected. Indeed, I would never presume to call her by her first name.
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