Carly Fiorina

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Even as I begin writing this I haven’t decided where I stand on Carly Fiorina. She sounds like a strong candidate when she speaks – I can understand Holly’s enthusiasm based on what Carly says – but I’m not yet convinced of how much substance is behind the rhetoric. I’ve had concerns about her performance at HP because that’s the only real sample we have of her capacity to lead. Carly declares on her campaign website that “her record as CEO speaks for itself” and some of her critics would undoubtedly agree (while arriving at the opposite conclusion that her supporters do). After consideration I have concluded that her record as CEO doesn’t speak for itself any more than the data in a scientific study speaks for itself. Data is data but without context (or with incomplete context) the same data can lead to vastly disparate conclusions.

If the question before me were “should Carly Fiorina be our next President?” the answer would have to be I really don’t know yet. Thankfully the question right now is simply, “does Carly Fiorina deserve serious attention as a candidate?” The answer to that one is yes she does. I endorse Carly Fiorina for president – she brings an important voice and perspective to the debate and may yet prove to be our best option.

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John Kasich

Photo by Marc Nozell

John Kasich was among the long list of GOP candidates that I had no particular opinion of going into this process. As a multi-term governor of Ohio I anticipated a decent amount of political experience but was surprised to find a cross between Rick Santorum (more political experience than expected) and Ted Cruz (“judge me based on what I’ve done”).

The more I learned about him the more convinced I became that for this election cycle in the GOP there is an inverse correlation between real political experience and polling numbers. If the primary voters in the GOP decide that maybe they should do something other than a wholesale rejection of those with political experience then they should seriously give John Kasich strong consideration. I very much endorse John Kasich for president because even when we need a change of course experience is a valuable commodity.

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Lawrence Lessig

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I was surprised to hear that Larry Lessig had declared that he would run for the Democratic nomination. Having followed his work on intellectual property law for years I have always liked Larry because he has proven to be someone who has a solid understanding of the information age – which is uncommon among elected officials. With that background I was really hopeful that he would be a good candidate.

Unfortunately this promise killed any chance of being endorsed:

If elected, he says he will be the first “referendum president,” promising to serve only as long as it takes to pass his Citizens Equality Act of 2017 — a bill aimed at reforming campaign finance, voting rights, and Congressional representation. Once the bill is passed, Lessig said he would then step down, handing over the reins to his vice president.

Sadly, Larry isn’t running to be president, he is running to enact a particular piece of legislation. I can’t endorse Larry Lessig for president. Even if the legislation were correct and very important (which is a matter for debate) I would consider it irresponsible to endorse someone in hopes that he chose a good vice president to succeed him.

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Ted Cruz

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Ted Cruz isn’t running for office, he’s applying for a new job. At least, that’s the sense I get from his campaign. Rather than spending his time talking about what he will do his message is “here are my values – the things that drive my decision making process – and here are the actions I have taken based on those values.” The message to voters is, “if you like the values I believe in and the way I’ve defended them please give me the opportunity to do so as President.”

I like that approach to campaigning – rather than the “let me discern what you want and then promise to be the candidate of your dreams” approach.

Ted’s values centered approach and his open “judge me based on my past actions” attitude make him a candidate deserving of consideration. I endorse Ted Cruz for president.

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George Pataki

Photo by Gage Skidmore

George Pataki seems to be running for president simply because there was no clear front runner for the GOP nomination. His campaign website doesn’t even talk about issues so I’m left to conclude that his platform is “as a former governor of New York my name has been in the media much more than the governor of Idaho so I may as well give this campaign a shot since my name has been floated as a potential presidential or vice presidential candidate in previous election cycles.”

If voters want to know where Pataki stands on anything they either have to follow campaign news very closely (because he gets hardly any coverage in the crowded field) or else they have to go to his Wikipedia page – where they will find a significant number of positions that really don’t agree with much of the national GOP voting base. (That’s only a strike against him because he’s seeking the GOP nomination – otherwise it wouldn’t play into my evaluation for this series.)

I went into this with no opinion of George Pataki but I conclude that as a candidate he is simply a placeholder in case the voters reject all the candidates who are really trying to win the nomination. I can’t endorse George Pataki for president since he gives me absolutely no reason to think of him as anything more than a fallback option.

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