ONE OF THE MOST EFFECTIVE ADS OF THE CYCLE…. In a year filled with odd statewide candidates, I still have a hard time figuring out what California’s Carly Fiorina is thinking.

The Republican Senate nominee is best known for her tenure as HP’s chief executive, during which the company lost more than half its value; Fiorina laid off tens of thousands of workers; and she was named one of Conde Nast Portfolio‘s “20 Worst American CEOs of All Time.” With this background in mind, Fiorina has decided to try to parlay failure into a U.S. Senate victory.

Kevin Drum flagged this ad from Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) this week, noting that his household focus group found it “pretty devastating.” I’m very much inclined to agree.

The spot shows Fiorina boasting about having laid off 30,000 workers, and sending jobs to China. All the while, Fiorina tripled her own salary, and bought a million-dollar yacht and five corporate jets. And unlike so many critical ads this year, Boxer’s spot actually stands up well to fact-checking scrutiny.

I realize it’s looking like a Republican year, and voters in California are deeply frustrated with the weak economy, but a campaign ad like this one — to my mind, one of the most effective of the cycle — seems hard to overcome.

Oliver Willis, noting the same ad, added, “I still have a hard time with the idea that people don’t just laugh Fiorina out of the room.”

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.