Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Politics v. Business

K-Lo over at the National Review posted this email on "The Corner" blog:

Concerns About Romney [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

An e-mail:

I am a conservative, went to Hillsdale College, worked for a
conservative senator, and work in the Administration. I was having
lunch yesterday with other conservatives in my agency. Like you, we
are frustrated with McCain to a large degree.

However the disappointment with Romney went along these lines:

- Why is the candidate who has espoused his business skills and sharp decisionmaking in the tough predicament that he is in? Maybe we should question those skills.

- Most Corner contributers lament McCain, but should they not lament that Romney is not more effective?

- If you can't be effective with McCain, how are you going to be effective with Putin, Kim il-sung, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?


I sent her off this reply, which, since I
blogging now, I'll post here...on my blog:


In response to the "Concerns About Romney" post, I think that the author of the email is really comparing apples and oranges. First, Romney's business acumen is indisputable. You don't make a quarter of a billion (with a "b") dollars by having meager business skills. You don't save a company like Bain Capital and leave it 15 times larger than you found it, turn a $379 million deficit at the Olympics into a $100 million profit, or fund successful companies like Staples, Dominoes Pizza, or Sports Authority by being an ineffectual business leader.

The reason that Mitt Romney isn't running away with the nomination is that world of politics isn't the world of business. How does a business man account for a mainstream press that is falling all over itself to anoint John McCain the GOP nominee and provides him with fawning press coverage and cover for his various conservative apostasies? How do you plan for dirty tricks like McCain's "timetables" lie? In business you can leverage your resources to swat down an underfunded and clumsy competitor like Mike Huckabee. In politics, he awe-shucks his way to win in Iowa. In business, if your product stinks, people don't buy it. In politics, if your products stinks, you start talking about foot soldiers and finding Jesus on taxes and border security and people pull the lever for you.

The world of politics are a completely different beast than the world of business, and clearly success in one doesn't guarantee success in the other. The point that Romney is making in his campaign is that no other candidate has a proven track record of turning around enterprises that are broken and making them work again (or work, period), and that Washington needs a turnaround artist and not another politician. McCain clearly understands the world of politics better, and Mitt Romney
may well not be that great of a politician which is part of the reason that's he's not cleaning McCain's clock. Romney is, however, a great executive and leader and I, frankly, think that's what Washington needs right now.

And, by the way, why does the writer assume that McCain will be more effective than Romney in dealing with Putin, Kim Il-Sung, or Ahmadinejad? Because he told Senator Cornyn what to do when Cornyn dared question him? The only people McCain has a solid record of standing up to are Republicans. may well not be that great of a politician, which is part of the reason that's he's not cleaning McCain's clock. Romney is, however, a great executive and leader, and I, frankly, think that's what Washington needs right now.

'Nuff said about that, I think. If you want more insight into John McCain's temper, check out this editorial from Investor's Business Daily:


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