Opinion L.A.

Observations and provocations
from The Times' Opinion staff

« Previous Post | Opinion L.A. Home | Next Post »

Carly and me -- BFFs!

December 7, 2009 |  9:33 am

Wow, Carly Fiorina is, like, totally into me! She updates me every day, sometimes six or eight or nine times a day, on what she's up to. Holding a forum in Pleasanton. Holding a forum in Clovis. Quoting a New Jersey newspaper calling her a ''charismatic former business leader'' who ''could be Boxer's greatest challenge.'' (Except that the New Jersey newspaper was just reprinting a Los Angeles Times story. I guess when you're running for a U.S. Senate seat, it looks better to say you've got coverage in a New Jersey paper, even when the story is from LA..But maybe I'm being geo-picky.)

Almost every day, I open my e-mail and there's a new missive from Carly to me, the first of many that day. I know Meg Whitman is running for governor, not Senate, but I gotta say -- Meg, girlfriend, where are you? Carly's sending me e-mails, and you're where? On TV? That's that cold medium that Marshall McLuhan wrote about, isn't it? I am not going to be friending you on Facebook, but I dunno -- TV seems so 2002.

What I really want to know is, are we on the verge of a new era of politics? A future of first-name campaigns? Does it sound girly (and girly-man) to have buttons and bumper stickers reading ''Carly 2010'' or ''Gov. Meg'' or ''Steve for Gov'' or "Jerry Again -- Now in 2010''?

I lay this at the feet of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who, through no fault of his own, has necessarily shed, or been shorn of, his difficult last name to enter the political lexicon just as ''Arnold.'' Hillary Clinton's campaign serendipitously or sagely often dropped the ''Clinton'' and focused on the ''Hillary.'' 

Fiorina's surname is tricky, though isn't quite as tricky as ''Schwarzenegger,'' but someone must also have figured that, whatever the drawbacks, ''Carly'' means no one has to pronounce ''Fiorina,'' and ''Carly'' might make the candidate sound friendly, homey, and distinctive -- how many Carlys can you name, apart from Simon?

Barbara Boxer has made her mark, literally, using ''Boxer,'' which is short, synonymous with a scrapper, and has the advantage of that X, like the mark on a ballot. ''Barbara'' is too common a name, and rather too long, to make it stand out, and in the ''Year of the Woman'' campaigns in 1992, when Boxer won her Senate race, it was toughness that women needed to summon.

But this is the Age of Twitter and Facebook, a million ''friends'' you've never met, candidates to be your senator, your governor, and maybe other office-seekers, would love to be on fill-in-the-blank first-name basis with you.

Oh, just be sure to put your full name on the campaign contribution check, though.

-- Patt Morrison

Comments ()