Friday, February 1, 2008

Businessmen Make the BEST Politicians

I want to highly recommend the blog, Powerline, to the JG&AH patrons. Here lately, I've been an avid reader of the bloggers' insights. John Hinderaker, Scott Johnson, and Paul Mirengoff are the bloggers at Powerline, and are very good reads for the Right-of-Center Republican. Not only are they knowledgeable , but entertaining as well.

That said, on the train ride into work yesterday morning, I read a post by John from Wednesday entitled "Politicians vs. Businessmen" that I couldn't disagree with more. This paragraph drew an unexpected belly laugh (because its so well written and witty - especially the part I've bolded) that caused a few people on the train to look at me with a bit of incredulity.

Turning a businessman loose in the political world is basically a mismatch. That's the sense I get of McCain's reaction to having Romney as his last serious rival. He can't believe his good fortune; Romney is an amateur. McCain can poke him in the eye, knee him in the groin, and the rule-following businessman has no idea how to respond.

I finished my chuckle and continued the read. I have to tell you, I couldn't disagree more.

Patrons of JG&AH know a little of my background as a Management Consultant. But I haven't really elaborated on my experiences in that capacity.

From 1999 to 2004, I worked as a Management Consultant for a very results-oriented offshoot of the firm Proudfoot. These were the most formative and eye opening years of my life, and that's saying something for a military veteran. During those five years, I was exposed to over 20 different industries, many management styles and especially the labor unions and other challenges that face the average businessman looking to be successful.

I've dealt with labor unions like the IBEW, the UAW. And I have dealt especially the cutthroat world of the competition that comes with businesses that have to make budget or go the way of the do-do.

For people like John McCain, this world is one they understand only through stories they hear from beleaguered constituents. For people like Mitt Romney, it is a world they understand through experience. John McCain has never had his paycheck threatened by failure to make a bottom line hindered by intrusive government. Mitt Romney has.

But that's the business side of why a businessman makes a better politician than a life long politician does. My disagreement with Hinderaker is why a businessman is more ruthless than a politician.

If you click on the link above and read Romney's story, you read that Romney's professional journey has a lot in common with my own.

When you are a consultant, one bad decision can take you from billing $50K a week to being out of work. When you are a politician, one bad decision means nothing more than learning the art of spin and applying it in a way that makes the problem go away. Especially when you are a media darling like John McCain.

When you are a consultant, you come back after a 10 hour day trying to convince your client to make a decision that pushes him out of his 20 year comfort zone. God help you if you cannot explain to your Project Manager/Operations Chief why you failed to do so. No one gives a rats ass what you did the day before. The PM/Chief wants to know what you did TODAY. If you didn't perform today, you'd better perform tomorrow. If you don't perform tomorrow, and continue to fail to perform, you find yourself on a plane in a coach seat heading home unemployed. If you are a politician, you just figure a way to bullshit your way through another scandal. If you are John McCain, the media will help you. If you are a consultant, you have to hit the pavement and find a new job.

The world of business, which Mitt Romney has succeed in (and millions of other have, as well), is just as ruthless as politics. Capitalism, the greatest cure for poverty, is ironically, a double-edged sword. It is a results oriented, black-and-white world where the bottom line, and not bullshit, rules. Especially in the world of consulting. When a client (plant manager, COO, etc) has to make a decision to spend a million dollars or more on your service, he's going to look to you for a tangible result, not a sound bite. And HIS mortgage depends on whether or not YOU can deliver what you promise as a consultant. Or he has to explain to HIS board of directors why he has pissed away hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. To succeed as a management consultant takes grace under fire that few people in the world can understand. I've been there. And here's the most important thing to understand - to succeed you have to deal with mean, corrupt, lazy union thugs; arrogant and lazy managers, and fickle executives that take the gamble on your service. There's no media to bullshit your way through a mess for you. You are on your own. What did you, Mr. Consultant, do today to earn your $10,000 manweek?

I want a President that's had to make it in the business world. Because that President will be sympathetic to the pain that wasteful governments with their absurd regulations bring on those who, in their attempt to improve their lives (business owners) benefit society as a whole through investment. Its that simple. Thank you, Senator McCain, for your service to this Nation. Now, how are you going to prosper us as a nation? You're on the clock, my friend. Lets hear it.

Mitt Romney is every bit as tough and resilient as John McCain is. Make no mistake about it.


Couple of clarifying comments/thoughts as I battle insomnia this morning.

First, I want to be clear that I am not trying to put John Hinderaker in the McCain camp. John's comments about McCain and his toughness vis a vis Mitt Romney is not an endorsement in any sense of the word. Its merely an observation on John's part, and I'm sure its an observation that frustrates him on some level. I get the sense from reading the Power Line blog as much as I have over the last couple of weeks that Hinderaker et al are as frustrated with the McCain ascendancy as much as the rest of us are. I guess maybe where John and I could agree on this point is; Mitt, we know you are as tough as McCain is (at least as outlined above, I do). Start fighting like you are. With 48 hours left until judgment day (Super Tuesday), it may be a moot point by now.

Second, if in fact McCain does win the nomination, I will WHOLLY support him in the general election against either Clinton or Obama.

As much as it pains many of you out there, the sad, inescapable reality is that our nation is a two-party nation, more so in the last 150 years than ever. Frankly, I was shocked that Perot performed as well as he did in 1992. I don't even look for that strong of a performance any time in the near future for a third party candidate.

That said, those of us who cherish the freedom and vibrant capitalism, safety, security and sovereignty of the United States of America and call ourselves Republicans need to stand behind the party. We need to reform it from within, not abandon it when people like John McCain win the nomination. The time to do that is during the primary season. Not the general election, when failure to support our nominee could result in a child like Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton taking the reigns of the free world. There is too much at stake.

I have long, long been a vocal opponent of John McCain within our party. But I have to agree with James Lewis in one of his more recent posts at American Thinker. I've tried to locate the post to no avail, but essentially he said something that I have been saying for a while now: (paraphrase) Republican Candidates, each one, may have their flaws but they are adults with real world solutions to the problems the real world faces. Democrats, by contrast, Lewis wrote, are children with childish points of view that should make the thinking people among us take pause at the thought of them at the reigns of power.

I couldn't agree with that sentiment more

So, given the choice of McCain or either Democrat, I'll take McCain. Yes, its like choosing between Pneumonia and Lung Cancer, but the previous you have a better chance of surviving.

Lastly, those of you who are frustrated by the rise of McCain as the nominee and are going to "teach the party a lesson" by sitting out the General Election, I'd advise rethinking that position. Rather than thinking your vote is a vote in support of McCain, think of it as a vote to keep a Democrat Child out of the White House. Otherwise, we'll have a replay of November 2006. Do you really want that?