Today’s hot U.S. Senate campaign rhetoric

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, trailing newcomer Tom Campbell in the latest polls, today rolled out a Web site and video taking Campbell to task as a “FCINO” – a Fiscal Conservative in Name Only. (Note to Fiorina campaign staffers: “DINO” and “RINO” worked well as acronyms because they were easily pronounced. Also, the sheep with the glowing red eyes is freaking me out.)

The site and video attack Campbell’s record as state finance director under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Campbell’s support of temporary tax hikes rather than draconian cuts alone to close last year’s enormous budget deficit.

“California voters beware: Tom Campbell is a wolf in sheep’s clothing when it comes to his campaign rhetoric on taxes and government spending. He is a fiscal liberal masquerading as a ‘Fiscal Conservative In Name Only,’” Fiorina spokeswoman Julie Soderlund said in today’s news release. “The last thing California needs is another tax-hiking, big-spending senator – Barbara Boxer has done more than her fair share of that over the last 18 years. And given his record of support for higher taxes, more borrowing and increased government spending, there is no reason to believe Taxin’ Tom would be any different.”

Meanwhile, the California Democratic Party rolled out its CarlyFailorina.com site today, highlighting what it calls a failed business record for the former Hewlett-Packard CEO. The site also features an introductory video of Fiorina and invites visitors to submit their own “Carly Fail” stories.

“Carly Fiorina would be an unmitigated disaster for California,” said California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton. “But just don’t take our word for it. Talk to any of the 28,000 people she fired while she was busy sending jobs overseas and running Hewlett-Packard right into the ground.”

So Fiorina, who holds an enormous fundraising (that is, self-funding) advantage, is attacking the rival who’s leading in the polls, while the Democrats keep their sights trained on Fiorina. Who do you think Barbara Boxer would rather face this fall?

UPDATE @ 5:54 P.M.: Soderlund says FCINO is pronounced FAH-SEE-NO.

Pronunciation isn’t most people’s top issue with the site; rather, it seems to be the – ahem – surreal nature of its Web video. Perhaps Robert Cruickshank put it best in his post at Calitics.com, calling it “a cross between a bad church recruitment video, a Monty Python sketch, and a Pink Floyd album cover.”

But as Soderlund puts it, it’s “fine by us since the more people talk about it, the more people watch it, which of course is the whole point.”

And, she noted, although the Democratic site tries to cast the candidate as “Failorina,” it launched with an epic fail of its own.

“We take it as a compliment that Barbara Boxer continues to spend money to attack Carly,” Soderlund said of the California Democratic Party’s site. “She’s clearly the candidate Boxer would least like to face in the general election because she can, and will, beat her. Although, it would be nice if the Democrats could at least get their facts straight, Carly is running for Senate, not Governor – one minor detail.”

UPDATE @ 6:15 P.M.: Wanted to share one more description, this one from Wonkette: “It’s best at the beginning and end, especially the end, picking up steam at exactly 2:26. ‘2:26’ is the absolute most terrifying second of video on YouTube since the most recently uploaded clip of Roger Ailes.”

UPDATE @ 7:47 P.M.: When life gives Carly Fiorina lemons, Chuck DeVore makes lemonade!

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    The standard test of a Fiscal Conservative in Government is a person opposed to all Discretionary Government Spending.

  • John W.

    Re: # 1 ALL discretionary spending? That covers a lot of ground, but only 17% of the Federal budget plus whatever portion of Defense would be considered discretionary.

    I have wondered lately about the use of the term “mandatory” for Social Security and Medicare. In fact, there is no legal or contractual obligation for those programs. Not similar to vested pensions, for example. Congress, if so inclined, could kill both programs tomorrow. In business, when presented with proposed budgets by my managers, I always challenged the term “fixed expenses.” All expenses, in the end, are variable and discretionary.