Carly Fiorina, still draped in the silky folds of the $45 million golden parachute with which she left Hewlett-Packard in 2005, is planning a Senate run. No wonder she's been talking about "executive excess" lately.

Fiorina's name has come up in politics even before she left HP. She was a fundraiser for McCain in last year's campaign, and a visible spokeswoman until she committed one gaffe too many. Now she seems to be plowing ahead with a campaign, despite a recent brush with breast cancer.

Polls show her faring poorly against incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer. And the newfound populist mood will prove hard for her to exploit, given her own pay record. (Her lukewarm proposal to put executive pay up to an annual shareholder vote seems unlikely to score points.) A Boxer fundraiser is already jumping on the news, sending the following email to supporters:

I just wanted to pass along some late-breaking news: According to a post this afternoon on the San Jose Mercury News website, during a
trip to Washington, DC on Tuesday, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina said she is "seriously considering" challenging Senator Barbara Boxer in 2010.

Fiorina reportedly received more than $150 million during her time at HP — including $21 million in severance pay after she left under fire — while laying off more than 25,000 employees as CEO, none of whom received the kind of golden parachute she did. Now she has millions of her own dollars to pour into a possible campaign against Barbara Boxer.

Another weak point for Fiorina: Her championing of visas for skilled workers at a think tank she just joined. America needs immigrant talent — but that's a tough issue to sell to voters.