Wednesday, December 14, 2011
It’s said that one definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome. By that standard, the American electorate is, plain and simple, nuts.
Our Founding Fathers were not professional politicians, certainly not by today’s definition of the concept. They were businessmen and professionals with political skills, acting politically. They were also forming a government, not running one and that’s a big, very significant difference.
What we, the people, keep doing is electing Politicians. Notice, that’s “Politicians” with a capital “P.” Not surprisingly, the more complex our society, the less able these professional talkers, these glad-handers who are lately more beholden to the money of special interests than to the people who elected them, the less able these politicians are to design, pass and implement intelligent and effective legislation. Simply put, they’re in over their heads, increasingly so.
And yet, we keep voting for them. Sometimes they’re Democrats, sometimes Republicans. Some more or less conservative, moderate or liberal than others, but it doesn’t make any difference, does it?
To fix Congress, we need to take money out of the campaign process. Dylan Ratigan, the MSNBC show host, wants to do that with a constitutional amendment. I like Dylan. Smart. Passionate. But I’m not holding my breath. I think his time would be better spent fomenting a peoples’ revolution, the civilized kind of course, that forces legislative campaign reform.
This piece is about the President. He is, after all, in charge of the executive branch of our government. That’s “executive” as in he’s the manager we’ve elected to run our government, to implement laws Congress passes and to do whatever else he can within the limits of his authority to make government work. The problem, simply put, is that he’s a politician, not a manager.
President Obama is a nice man, a solid family man who deserves our respect and admiration on a personal level. He’s obviously very intelligent, well-spoken and hard working. The problem is, he has no idea what he’s doing and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, but technically. Think about it. Even if you’re a big fan of President Obama, would you, as a stockholder, hire him to run a hospital? An auto manufacturer? Apple? NBC/Universal? I could go on, but you get the point. Of course not. Why? Because he’s not a manager. He’s a politician. You wouldn’t even hire him to run a firm of lobbyists, even though politics is what they do, because he wouldn’t know how to manage one. The fact is, the President and other high level professional politicians don’t even run their own campaigns, not because they’re too busy, which may be true, but because they don’t know how. They don’t have the requisite skill set or experience. That’s what professional campaign “managers” are for. There’s that word again. “Managers.”
“Oh, com’on. Are you going to endorse Mitt Romney?” No. Like my endorsement counts for anything. No, although I am addressing a core difference between Mr. Romney and Mr. Gingrich. I’m just trying to make the point that it’s not about party affiliation or even where they stand left or right of center provided their beliefs are generally acceptable. What’s most important is that they have a demonstrated ability to manage. And that’s what we keep missing.
Our choice is simple: We can vote for someone who is primarily a professional politician and hope that he or she can learn how to manage our government, or we can elect a professional manager and hope he or she can perfect the requisite political skills once in office. Which do you think makes more sense? Which do you believe would have the best chance of running a more effective government?