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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.

By Jo-Ann Armao  | November 5, 2009; 7:58 PM ET
Categories:  Armao  | Tags:  Jo-Ann Armao  
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Count on a woman to raise the most important issues - and to criticize another woman for her choice of what she wants to be called.

Posted by: neilwied | November 6, 2009 1:52 AM | Report abuse

Call her? Not if I were to vote. I remember HP and what she did.

Posted by: gary4books | November 6, 2009 5:18 AM | Report abuse

Now let's see some opposition signs reading, "Carly Doesn't Vote."

Posted by: martymar123 | November 6, 2009 7:28 AM | Report abuse

If alliteration is what she desires, "Fiorina for Failure" has a nice ring to it.

Posted by: bsimon1 | November 6, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

You must not be from California.

A friend where I live now in Europe told me that she went to San Francisco and was simply amazed at the number of waiters who announced "Hi, I'm Bob" and so on, or the produce guy in Safeway who seemed to be hitting on her, saying "Hi, how are you today?" with a big smile, while here she was, twice his age, just going to select vegetables.

The whole "Carly" thing fits right in with the style from my homeland on the West Coast, and it's become so widespread there as to be like a separate planet from even the East Coast, and definitely from Europe in parts.

To those from places with more traditional forms of politeness, it seems like a large twelve-step meeting there, with everyone announcing "Hi, I'm Carly!" and "Hi Carly! Welcome!" at every meeting.

Of course, even aside from all that, Fiorina's Web site was hilarious, which is sort of amazing for someone from the high tech world.

Posted by: Billy_Pilgrim | November 7, 2009 5:25 AM | Report abuse

“For my part, I want my elected officials to be serious -- people with real gravitas and strength.”

How is it then, that you publicly insult* city council members, calling their decisions “nutty” and meddlesome” with no evidence?

Can we call you “Sissy” for inconsistent or “Puffy” for puffed up?


Posted by: efavorite | November 7, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Carly is bad news as a leader, both by personal temperament and results. Look closely at her record at HP. She's totally into excessive executive perks and privileges regardless of performance. Hmmmm, come to think of it, she will fit right in as a politician!

Posted by: evelyn911 | November 7, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

So obvious that this woman's first detractor is always another woman. Women will never break the glass ceiling because other women won't let them. Will you now be reporting on her clothes, her hair, her cleavage, her laugh, her whatever else doesn't matter but the same hit job the media and other democrats did to Hillary Clinton?

Posted by: justmyvoice | November 7, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Pilgrim, your European friend should have continued their travels to other parts of the country to get a better sample. I live in the bootheel of Missouri, right in the center of the country, and we also have our "Hi, I'm Bob," waiters, and "Have a nice day," store greeters. It's not just California; it's everywhere.

Posted by: pennyterrell | November 7, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm from California and it doesn't matter what she calls herself...other than non-voter.

She was a train wreck at HP by the board and employees.

She has rarely voted in the various states she has registered in.

She's totally out of touch with California.

Posted by: Shingo56 | November 10, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

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