Is Carly Fiorina a Republican Insider?

It seems Carly Fiorina is at least an “outsider” that every Republican insider can love.

I have been really happy with some of the stands Carly Fiorina has taken, especially when it comes to Planned Parenthood. But I also have some doubts.

Consider this Bloomberg story: “Carly Fiorina, an Outsider Candidate Republican Insiders Can Love.”

The story describes her outsider credentials but then changes directions.

Yet Fiorina is no political neophyte, either. The daughter of an influential federal judge, she served on advisory boards to the National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency and hit the stump as a surrogate for 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain, hardly a darling of grassroots conservatives. She challenged Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer of California in 2010, raising almost $16 million and securing endorsements from Republican luminaries like former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former first lady Nancy Reagan for the unsuccessful effort. After that race, Fiorina and her husband moved to northern Virginia, on the outskirts of D.C.

“She is certainly not an insider in the traditional political sense, but she certainly is not a naif who just came in off the pumpkin patch,” said Robert Deitz, a former NSA general counsel and counselor to CIA Director Michael Hayden who worked with Fiorina on both intelligence boards and is supporting her campaign. More people in the intelligence community might be ready to get behind her, Deitz said, especially as they see more of her political acumen and grasp of policy issues.

“She is a mainstream, albeit conservative, Republican,” Deitz said. “She’s not Donald Trump, for Christ sakes, or Sarah Palin.” (McCain’s campaign sidelined Fiorina after she criticized his pick of Palin as the vice presidential nominee.)

Among the many places to which her campaign schedule takes her, Fiorina and an allied super-PAC have poured resources into New Hampshire, an early-voting state that typically holds out more promise to establishment candidates than Iowa or South Carolina, and she’s garnered big endorsements and charmed crowds. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released on Sunday put her in second place, behind Trump, with 16 percent support. Also on Sunday, Reuters reported that the billionaire Koch brothers now have Fiorina on their short list of potential beneficiaries along with Florida Senator Marco Rubio, citing three people close to the megadonors.

The establishment’s clearly going to be very comfortable with her” if she’s the nominee, said veteran Granite State Republican activist Fergus Cullen. “She has some of that cross-over appeal.”

If nothing else, this shows us that Fiorina is absolutely in the NSA’s corner on “national security” issues.

I greatly appreciate Fiorina’s uncompromising witness to the evil of Planned Parenthood. But someone who thought John McCain was worth supporting until he chose Sarah Palin as his running mate strikes me as the opposite of a conservative.