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Sometimes I secretly wonder if I have a masochist gene in my makeup. Why else would I watch Chris Wallace’s recent interview with Carly Fiorina on “Fox News Sunday”? It was an excruciatingly painful experience that had to make tea-party viewers feel as though someone was tinkling on their heads.

I’m not masochistic enough to live in California again, but if I did still live there and someone put a gun to my head and forced me to vote for either Barbara Boxer or Carly Fiorina – who returned to campaigning yesterday after a stint in the hospital – on Nov. 2, I would probably hold my nose and vote for Boxer.

Why would I vote for one of the most arrogant, obnoxious progressives in the Senate – so arrogant and obnoxious that, in a totally serious tone, she dressed down a brigadier general who dared to call her “ma’am” instead of senator? The reason is that I took Michael Corleone’s advice seriously in “The Godfather II” when he said, “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”

With Boxer, there’s no guessing. You know she’s the enemy – a staunch enemy of freedom and free markets. I don’t want her behind the scenes like Van Jones, Anita Dunn, Jeff Jones, et al. causing mischief. I want her on C-SPAN – nice and close – where I can keep an eye on her socialist activities.

With Carly Fiorina, however, like so many other progressives in the Republican Party, she would undoubtedly be able to fool a lot of muttonheads into believing that she’s a conservative – a solid friend of freedom and free markets. Sorry, but based on her lame performance on “Fox News Sunday,” it’s painfully clear that Fiorina is nothing more than an adult version of Meghan McCain – the diaper-clad, intellectual voice of Republican progressivism.

By my count, Chris Wallace asked Fiorina, a self-proclaimed fiscal conservative, seven times to “name one single entitlement expenditure you’re willing to cut.” Her answers made Meghan McCain’s old man sound like a straight talker. Softy that I am, I was actually embarrassed for her.

Following each of Wallace’s seven attempts to get an answer to his question, Fiorina offered a filibuster on topics as closely related to the question as the weather, the Bowl Championship Series rankings in college football and Michelle Obama’s (two) arms. At one point, she became so desperate that she inexplicably blurted out, “You’re asking a typical political question.” Hmm … and here all along I thought that’s what he was supposed be doing.

In fairness to Fiorina, however, when pressed by Wallace to woman up, she did fall back on the progressive’s defensive weapon of choice – “We have to cut waste, fraud and abuse.” Gee, I never heard that one before. She must have been picturing Andy Griffith saying, “Gollee, what a great new idear that thar lady just came up with. Ah might just vote fer her if she kin cut waste, fraud and abuse. What’ll them smart folks in Washington think of next? Sounds almost as good as Obamacare.”

To her dismay, however, each time Fiorina desperately blurted out the answer of choice for weasel politicians, Wallace pointed out, quite correctly, that waste, fraud and abuse were inconsequential in the overall fiscal scheme of things. He also reminded her that politicians have been talking about cutting waste, fraud and abuse for decades, yet it never happens.

Each time Wallace asked her the question, Fiorina found it increasingly difficult to keep her fake smile in place and repress the anger she was feeling toward him. If you like comedic facial contortions, it was a great show. You could almost hear her whispering behind her clenched teeth, “Why in the hell did I ever agree to come on this S.O.B.’s show? Once I get elected, I’ll never give him the time of day.”

Come to think of it, isn’t this the same woman who was caught by a live mic opining that Meg Whitman (the GOP candidate running against Jerry Brown for governor in California) was making a “bad choice” by going on Fox News’ “Sean Hannity Show,” saying “You know how he is” and that he’s “not an easy interview.” Wow – if she thinks Sean Hannity is tough, how does she rate Glenn Beck?

It’s no great surprise that in the days following Fiorina’s interview with Chris Wallace, Babs Boxer increased her lead over the former chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and her embarrassing refusal to answer Wallace’s straightforward question might just prove to be enough to allow Boxer to keep her Senate seat.

Which would be no great loss for the Republican Party. They already have a plethora of progressives like Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe within their ranks, so they don’t need any more Republicans to reinforce in the public’s mind that the GOP does not offer much of an alternative to the Democratic Party’s socialist agenda.

Having said all this, in the event Carly Fiorina should pull an upset over the unctuous Babs Boxer, Democrats have nothing to fear. From what I saw and heard in her interview with Chris Wallace, they would still be able to count on Fiorina whenever they needed a tie-breaking vote.

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