Carly the survivor

Great presidents need to be able to weather great trials and come out unbroken.  Great presidents need resilience.  Who among the Republican candidates has a life story that shows the sort of resilience?  I think Carly Fiorina does.  Consider her last ten years.

In 2005, she was fired as CEO of Hewlett-Packard.   Regardless of whether the board of directors fired her wisely or not, it surely must have been a tough blow to a woman who had worked her way up the corporate ladder from office secretary to CEO of a giant company.  Her path to success was much more difficult than that of Trump, the son of a New York millionaire.  Many people would have crawled into a comfortable burrow and stayed put, but Fiorina did not.

In 2009, Carly Fiorina was treated for breast cancer.  She survived an illness terrifying for any woman, a disease that brings not only fear of death but the fear of living afterward.  No one would have thought less of Carly had she chosen to fall back into a comfortable, safe, and sterile life of charitable work and popular philanthropies, but she chose a very different and much harder path.  Fiorina, from this, too, grew stronger.

Also in 2009, Carly Fiorina lost a child whom she had raised as her own, her stepdaughter Lori Ann.  The pain of losing a child never goes away and is never easy.  More than a few parents have been driven forever into a dark room of loneliness and helplessness after such a loss.  Imagine coping with that tragedy while recovering from breast cancer.  Only those with great personal strength can do that.  Fiorina did.

The next year, in 2010, Carly Fiorina fought an electoral battle against a leftist icon in a leftist state.  It was almost impossible for her to win that race.  She did what more timid Republicans like Donald Trump, who could but did not challenge leftist icons in New York, lacked the courage to do.  Pressing the left in its own lair is the key to winning the nation, and Fiorina undertook that often thankless task.  She lost, although she held Barbara Boxer to only 52% of the vote in an election that ought to have been a cakewalk for an incumbent Democrat.

Four times in five years Carly Fiorina had been knocked down – in her professional life, in her personal life, and in her political life – but each time, she got back up again.  Whatever other qualities the next great leader of our nation must have, resilience in the face of loss is indispensable.

The next Republican president will be charged with saving a nation that seems close to dying these days.  That president will face setback after setback, will be subjected to abuse and slander from the leftist establishment the likes of which few of us can imagine, and will have to dig deep into reservoirs of personal strength that defy bank accounts and fame. 

While it would be nice to be like Donald Trump, born rich and become super-rich, the public details of his life do not tell much about his grit, his strength, or his courage.  He might be a good president, but he might wilt when faced with problems that require much more than good negotiating skills. 

The contrast with Carly Fiorina is stark.  She has been knocked down – hard – and gotten up again and again.  She has transcended pain and loss in a way that few politicians, indeed, few of us, have done in our lives.  It is precisely this tenacity that our next president will need.

Great presidents need to be able to weather great trials and come out unbroken.  Great presidents need resilience.  Who among the Republican candidates has a life story that shows the sort of resilience?  I think Carly Fiorina does.  Consider her last ten years.

In 2005, she was fired as CEO of Hewlett-Packard.   Regardless of whether the board of directors fired her wisely or not, it surely must have been a tough blow to a woman who had worked her way up the corporate ladder from office secretary to CEO of a giant company.  Her path to success was much more difficult than that of Trump, the son of a New York millionaire.  Many people would have crawled into a comfortable burrow and stayed put, but Fiorina did not.

In 2009, Carly Fiorina was treated for breast cancer.  She survived an illness terrifying for any woman, a disease that brings not only fear of death but the fear of living afterward.  No one would have thought less of Carly had she chosen to fall back into a comfortable, safe, and sterile life of charitable work and popular philanthropies, but she chose a very different and much harder path.  Fiorina, from this, too, grew stronger.

Also in 2009, Carly Fiorina lost a child whom she had raised as her own, her stepdaughter Lori Ann.  The pain of losing a child never goes away and is never easy.  More than a few parents have been driven forever into a dark room of loneliness and helplessness after such a loss.  Imagine coping with that tragedy while recovering from breast cancer.  Only those with great personal strength can do that.  Fiorina did.

The next year, in 2010, Carly Fiorina fought an electoral battle against a leftist icon in a leftist state.  It was almost impossible for her to win that race.  She did what more timid Republicans like Donald Trump, who could but did not challenge leftist icons in New York, lacked the courage to do.  Pressing the left in its own lair is the key to winning the nation, and Fiorina undertook that often thankless task.  She lost, although she held Barbara Boxer to only 52% of the vote in an election that ought to have been a cakewalk for an incumbent Democrat.

Four times in five years Carly Fiorina had been knocked down – in her professional life, in her personal life, and in her political life – but each time, she got back up again.  Whatever other qualities the next great leader of our nation must have, resilience in the face of loss is indispensable.

The next Republican president will be charged with saving a nation that seems close to dying these days.  That president will face setback after setback, will be subjected to abuse and slander from the leftist establishment the likes of which few of us can imagine, and will have to dig deep into reservoirs of personal strength that defy bank accounts and fame. 

While it would be nice to be like Donald Trump, born rich and become super-rich, the public details of his life do not tell much about his grit, his strength, or his courage.  He might be a good president, but he might wilt when faced with problems that require much more than good negotiating skills. 

The contrast with Carly Fiorina is stark.  She has been knocked down – hard – and gotten up again and again.  She has transcended pain and loss in a way that few politicians, indeed, few of us, have done in our lives.  It is precisely this tenacity that our next president will need.