Friday was a bad day for Carly Fiorina. That's not to say any of her days have been great lately ― over the past couple of months she's gone from a potential-laden would-be rising star to a complete afterthought in the GOP primary polls, at just more than 2 percent in Iowa. That's one likely reason why she threw her alma mater Stanford under the bus just hours before the Rose Bowl against the Iowa Hawkeyes, which was a very bad call. So, did Carly Fiorina really curse the Iowa Hawkeyes with her blatant political pandering?
First things first: No, of course not. Curses aren't real, and more to the point, the reason Iowa suffered a decisive blowout defeat at the hands of the Stanford Cardinal was because the Stanford Cardinal are a damn good football team. But there's no mistaking where some folks on Twitter are placing the blame, and that's squarely at the former Hewlett-Packard CEO's feet.
For those of you who missed it, Fiorina (or whoever's in charge of her Twitter account) sent out the following little gem on Friday morning, just hours before the Hawkeyes and Cardinal were set to kick off. Remember, she attended Stanford in the 1970s, but apparently that wasn't enough to win her loyalty over a big-time university in the nation's first primary voting state.
Even before the game started, this drew a lot of attention, as it's basically one of the most overt political panders you'll ever see, and a massive strategic blunder. But now, with benefit of hindsight, it looks even worse ― Stanford dominated the Rose Bowl from the very beginning, ultimately opening up a 38-point lead by the third quarter with an array of sharp cuts, deft moves, and stifling defense. It was a flat-out virtuoso performance, and one that Fiorina could've been unabashedly enjoying, if only she'd stayed true. And just as you might expect, the Fiorina connection did not go unnoticed ― thus, the rise of #CarlyCurse.
Things started off poorly for the Hawkeyes, as they surrendered a touchdown on their very first play, and it only got worse from there. You can almost imagine the grim scene at Fiorina headquarters, upon realizing she'd been painted into a corner ― it became very clear very quickly that Stanford was going to roll, and she was going to be the butt of a lot of jokes because of it.
The final score ended up being 45-16, but even as lopsided as those numbers are, they make it seem a little closer than it really was ― the smattering of points the Hawkeyes got late in the game came well after everything was decided. Stanford scored the first 38 points of the game completely unanswered, until an Iowa field goal in the third quarter broke up the shutout.
On top of everything else, not all of the criticism Fiorina absorbed were just silly Twitter jokes. She also drew fire from Michigan Republican Justin Amash, who tweeted that her pandering was "insulting to voters everywhere."
All told, it was a day that Fiorina and her campaign would probably like to put behind them. But hey, it's not all bad, right? At least her school won!