While Hillary Clinton is gearing up for Saturday’s big speech on New York’s Roosevelt Island, in which the candidate is expected to evoke her heroine, Eleanor Roosevelt, Carly Fiorina yesterday gave a speech in which she sought to redefine feminism and “liberate women for liberal stereotypes that define success too narrowly.”

Both Clinton and Fiorina, the most intriguing long shot in many years, have done the math: Women make up 53 percent of registered voters and in 2012 55 percent of women voted for President Obama. Fiorina and Clinton see feminism in different ways and will make different appeals to women. Fiorina, however far she makes it towards the White House, has an opportunity to snatch feminism from the victimhood-crowd:  

“A feminist is a woman who lives the life she chooses,” Mrs. Fiorina told a free-market interest group dinner in Washington in speech that was billed as her first major policy address since declaring her candidacy May 5. “A woman may choose to have five children and home-school them. She may choose to become a CEO or run for president.” . . .

She suggested repeatedly in her speech Thursday that feminist conservatives like herself, not radical finger-wagging liberals who’ve dominated the sexual equality battlefield for decades, are the people who best advance the legitimate interests of women in America. The “failures of progressive feminism,” she argued, are rooted in the fact that liberals are focused “more about winning elections than empowering women.”

She backs her passion for arguing for fairness for women in the marketplace and political arena with her own personal story. She headed the world’s largest technology corporation until getting ousted in a nasty internal fight with the Hewlett-Packard board. She fought a bitter race for a U.S. Senate seat from California, and lost. And she led, unpaid, the fundraising arm of the largest conservative organization in the United States and turned its financial fortunes right side up.

She was hard-hitting on what she sees as the failures of the brand of feminism as traditionally espoused by the Democratic Party:

“It’s been 95 years since women got the right to vote. Fifty years since “The Feminine Mystique.” Sixteen years since I was named the first female CEO of a Fortune 50 company,” she said at a dinner in Washington D.C. Liberals’ “version of feminism isn’t working. It’s time for a new definition.”. . .

“Feminism has devolved into a left-leaning political ideology where women are pitted against men and used as a political weapon to win elections,” she said. “If you are a man—or a woman—who doesn’t believe the litanies of the Left, then you are ‘waging a war on women’ or you are a ‘threat to women’s health’ or you are variously described as ‘window dressing’ —Joni Ernst—or offensive as a candidate—Carly Fiorina.”

Fiorina argued that overarching deregulation and free market principles – like curbing union’s power and promoting school choice – will better improve women’s lives. She also took a quick swipe at equal pay, one of her biggest liabilities with women who widely support it.

“Despite it already being law, the Left wants to further legislate equal pay. And yet the Left also support seniority systems in government and unions that reward not merit but time and grade. We know these systems have perverse consequences,” she said. 

Incidentally, the above quotes are from a report from MSNBC, which would of course regard Ms. Fiorina’s position on equal pay legislation a liability “with women who widely support it.” With other women, who are interested in opportunities rather than legislation that sounds good for Democrats but does little for women, not so much of a liability.

I can’t help thinking that Fiorina is a bit more forward looking that Clinton. I love piety to one’s mother, but this forecast of Hillary’s Roosevelt Island extravaganza tomorrow reflects a degree of desperation:

When Hillary Clinton sweeps onto the stage Saturday for the first major rally of her campaign, she will set aside her family's presidential legacy and concentrate on a chapter of her life she rarely speaks about: the Depression-era story of her mother, Dorothy Rodham.

Go away, Fleetwood Mac.

The New Clinton song seems to be, "Don't Stop Thinking about Yesterday."