Hillary Clinton has had it handed to her, if not on a silver platter, on a feminist platter.

She won her first elective office—a seat in the U.S. Senate from a state in which she had yet to reside—on a wronged first lady platform, and before that she was handed the health reform portfolio (oops!) by her husband (yes).

Mrs. Clinton is held up as a feminist icon and indeed has voiced all the right feminist sentiments for lo these many years, but in terms of actual achievements—well, we’re waiting to hear about them in 2016.

 Former Hewlett-Packard CEO and 2016 presidential aspirant Carly Fiorina has had such a different career path and espouses such a different philosophy that a Wall Street Journal profile this morning is headlined “The Anti-Hillary.”

The Journal’s James Freeman writes about how Ms. Fiorina, the longest of long shots for the GOP nomination, nevertheless wowed ‘em at a New York gathering of conservatives (hosted by a group named the Committee to Unleash American Prosperity):

I come from the world where results count,” said Carly Fiorina at a Monday dinner in Manhattan. The former Hewlett-Packard CEO and likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate was contrasting her experience to that of Hillary Clinton. It is a theme that Ms. Fiorina has been developing lately with a series of public zingers directed at the former Secretary of State. “Like Hillary Clinton, I too have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles around the globe,” said Ms. Fiorina last month. “But unlike Hillary Clinton, I know that flying is an activity, not an accomplishment.”

On Monday Ms. Fiorina highlighted the difficulty Mrs. Clinton would have running a race without the ability to “play the gender card” or rail about a “war on women.” In that case, argued the former CEO, the campaign would be fought on the less forgiving terrain of substantive debate.

She seems to have come across as a dynamo with uplifting ideas:

And she noted that even before ObamaCare, health insurance markets suffered from stifling regulation at both the state and federal levels. “Let’s try the one thing we’ve never tried in health care—a free market,” said Ms. Fiorina. She then compared bureaucratized health systems to the vibrancy of the tech sector that constantly delivers more powerful products at lower prices.

Fiorina knows the rough and tumble of the business world. She engineered Hewlett-Packard’s purchase of Compaq Computers and was then ousted by the board because she did not meet financial targets. If by some very long shot she did become the nominee, the Democrats would make much of her having been fired.


Regardless, her executive experience at H-P and before that at the former Lucent Technologies compares very favorably with Mrs. Clinton’s limited familiarity with the market economy and undistinguished tenure at State.

I have to add: If President Obama had had experienced being fired and coming back, maybe the country would have a more seasoned chief executive today. What if the GOP were to run as their ticket one person who’d been fired from a big job and nevertheless succeeded and another person who had dropped out of college and then gone on to success? Talk about a ticket that looks like America!

I’m not proposing that any party go out and nominate anybody. This is not a plug for Fiorina as a candidate. It is only that the compare and contrast element of Freeman’s report really grabbed me.

Fiorina reminds me of something Lisa Schiffren wrote in her debut column with the New York Observer (I’m not backing a Fiorina candidacy but I am definitely backing Lisa for fresh new columnist of the year!):

Today’s world is peopled with women who graduated in those decades, and pursued serious careers. They have deep experience in the professions, business, and politics. We have female Senators and Governors, who built their own political operations, have measurable achievements, and honest bank balances. A few have wartime military experience. None has faced multiple hearings over legal and ethical lapses.

One of them will be the first female president.

Fiorina is only eight years younger than Mrs. Clinton but she seems fresh by comparison and much more willing to engage in give and take than the entitled Democratic standard bearer, who is expecting a coronation rather than a contest.