Carly Fiorina has been known to stretch the truth, exaggerate and spin – particularly on her touted record as a business person. However, on Wednesday evening’s GOP debates, the former CEO of Hewlitt-Packard knocked it out of the park when it came to blatant lies and downright inaccurate information.
Despite this, Fiorina was declared the winner, based in part on the number of new Twitter followers she has accumulated. But let’s take a look at some of her statements.
Fiorina let it be known that she is a war hawk on steroids. When questioned on Russia and how to deal with President Vladimir Putin, she responded:
What I would do, immediately, is begin rebuilding the Sixth Fleet, I would begin rebuilding the missile defense program in Poland, I would conduct regular, aggressive military exercises in the Baltic states. I’d probably send a few thousand more troops into Germany. Vladimir Putin would get the message.
There are a few problems with that statement. First of all, the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet, based out of Naples, Italy and charged with the defense of the Atlantic and most of Europe, is plenty strong. Although there are fewer actual vessels than there were during the Cold War, those vessels have far greater capabilities. In fact, as of 2011 the US “ruled the waves,” representing half of the world’s naval power. In contrast, Russia’s navy is only 20% that size. Secondly, when it comes to nuclear warheads, the US and its allies are slightly ahead of Russia. Thirdly, the US currently has 40,000 troops stationed in Germany. Furthermore, there have been major military exercises going on in Eastern Europe since June.
Either Fiorina was unaware of these facts, or chose to ignore them.
Another statement regarding the infamous “Planned Parenthood Tapes” elicited thunderous applause:
I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, it’s heart beating, it’s legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.
While that may have happened at Auschwitz or Buchenwald in the 1940s, it most definitely does not happen in 21st Century America – and it is appalling to think that anyone believes it would. Has Fiorina ever watched those tapes? Apparently not. Sarah Kliff, senior editor of Vox, has thoroughly reviewed the videos, and says “either Fiorina hasn’t watched the Planned Parenthood videos or she is knowingly misrepresenting the footage.”
Most likely, it’s the latter. Later, when ABC news anchor George Stephanopoulos called her out on her statement, confirming that the twelve hour video contained no such images, Fiorina stuck to her story. With a grin that would be the envy of the sleaziest used car salesman, she looked directly into the camera and said:
I didn’t misspeak – and I don’t know who you’re speaking about in terms of watching the tapes, but I have seen those images…I don’t know if you’ve watched the tapes, George. Most people haven’t, certainly none of the Democrats who are still defending Planned Parenthood have watched those tapes…this kind of butchery erodes at the character of our nation.
Well, that lie is certainly worthy of Goebbel’s Nazi propaganda machine. And therein lies the secret of Fiorino’s current success: repeat a Big Lie, tailored to a specific audience, with confidence and authority over and over – and eventually, the ignorant and the easily led will accept it as the Gospel truth.
Fortunately, this is the America of 2015, not the Germany of 1940. Unlike the world of 75 years ago, today’s world has many ways of verifying politicians’ statements and exposing their actions. It is something that we at The Ring of Fire are pleased to be a part of.
One thing is for certain, however – Fiorina and GOP politicians like her are going to be keeping fact-checkers in the Progressive media very busy over the next year.