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yanqui


Jan 4, 2012, 5:31 AM
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Is there really that much difference?
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I see Romney squeaked by in Iowa. And this makes me wonder: aside from the obvious superficial distinctions, is there really that much difference between Romney and Obama? I realize it's sometimes hard to tell in advance: I didn't anticipate that Dubbya Bush would be such a radical change from Clinton, but there you have it. Now I wonder what the poop is here: if Romney beat Obama would there be much change in the way things are run?


ubu


Jan 4, 2012, 5:53 AM
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Practically speaking, I doubt there would be much difference between an Obama and Romney White House, with the following exceptions under Romney:

1. Significantly more flip-floppy pandering.
2. After 4 years of Romney we will all feel just a bit oilier.
3. Magic underwear.


scrapedape


Jan 4, 2012, 5:55 AM
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If Governor Romney were elected, I think the answer would be no. Governor Romney is not running, however.

Candidate Romney is a different animal. If he wins the nomination, it will be despite the GOP base, not because of it. The GOP base is rightly suspicious of Governor Romney's conservative bona fides, and as a result, Candidate Romney has painted himself into an awful lot of policy corners from which it will be impossible to back out.

In other words, even if Mitt Romney's "real" views (whatever the fuck that means) are close to Obama's, he has pandered to seriously and frequently to the GOP base that he will not be able to govern based on his own convictions. If he did, he would risk a primary challenge from the far right.


camhead


Jan 4, 2012, 10:48 AM
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There is a lot of difference between Romney and Obama.

Remember, disillusioned liberals who thought that there was no difference between Gore and Bush in 2000, and then voted for Nader, hold a lot of the blame for the disfunctions of the subsequent decade.

The lesser of two evils is still less evil.


scrapedape


Jan 4, 2012, 11:20 AM
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Greenwald addresses this in an interesting article:

In reply to:
It’s perfectly rational and reasonable for progressives to decide that the evils of their candidate are outweighed by the evils of the GOP candidate, whether Ron Paul or anyone else. An honest line of reasoning in this regard would go as follows:

In reply to:
Yes, I’m willing to continue to have Muslim children slaughtered by covert drones and cluster bombs, and America’s minorities imprisoned by the hundreds of thousands for no good reason, and the CIA able to run rampant with no checks or transparency, and privacy eroded further by the unchecked Surveillance State, and American citizens targeted by the President for assassination with no due process, and whistleblowers threatened with life imprisonment for “espionage,” and the Fed able to dole out trillions to bankers in secret, and a substantially higher risk of war with Iran (fought by the U.S. or by Israel with U.S. support) in exchange for less severe cuts to Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs, the preservation of the Education and Energy Departments, more stringent environmental regulations, broader health care coverage, defense of reproductive rights for women, stronger enforcement of civil rights for America’s minorities, a President with no associations with racist views in a newsletter, and a more progressive Supreme Court.

Without my adopting it, that is at least an honest, candid, and rational way to defend one’s choice. It is the classic lesser-of-two-evils rationale, the key being that it explicitly recognizes that both sides are “evil”: meaning it is not a Good v. Evil contest but a More Evil v. Less Evil contest. But that is not the discussion that takes place because few progressives want to acknowledge that the candidate they are supporting — again — is someone who will continue to do these evil things with their blessing.

The only problem with his framing, I think, is that progressives would not accepting those former evils in exchange for the latter benefits, since GOP is likely to be worse on all counts.


Partner j_ung


Jan 4, 2012, 12:12 PM
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scrapedape wrote:
...policy corners from which it will be impossible to back out.

If presidential politics has taught me anything, it's that such a thing does not exist.


rmsusa


Jan 4, 2012, 2:07 PM
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One difference is that Romney actually has some formal economics training and experience with real companies. In terms of being able to navigate US politics, I think he'd do better.

They're both pols, but hey ... that's what all our presidents are (by definition).


Toast_in_the_Machine


Jan 5, 2012, 5:05 AM
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rmsusa wrote:
One difference is that Romney actually has some formal economics training and experience with real companies. In terms of being able to navigate US politics, I think he'd do better.

They're both pols, but hey ... that's what all our presidents are (by definition).

Having browsed an annoted Romney resume (http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/...private-equity-past/), I'm not sold on his public policy economic chops.


camhead


Jan 5, 2012, 6:07 AM
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rmsusa wrote:
One difference is that Romney actually has some formal economics training and experience with real companies. In terms of being able to navigate US politics, I think he'd do better.

They're both pols, but hey ... that's what all our presidents are (by definition).

I've always wondered why business experience was seen as any more relevant to running a country than experience in law, public service, or military. Our nation is not a business; why do we need a CEO to be president?

Off the top of my head, I think we have only only ever elected one MBA to the White House, and that didn't turn out so well.


Partner cracklover


Jan 5, 2012, 8:25 AM
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camhead wrote:
rmsusa wrote:
One difference is that Romney actually has some formal economics training and experience with real companies. In terms of being able to navigate US politics, I think he'd do better.

They're both pols, but hey ... that's what all our presidents are (by definition).

I've always wondered why business experience was seen as any more relevant to running a country than experience in law, public service, or military. Our nation is not a business; why do we need a CEO to be president?

Off the top of my head, I think we have only only ever elected one MBA to the White House, and that didn't turn out so well.

Our leaders are all lawyers. China's leaders are all engineers.

Hmmm... that explains a few things, eh?

GO


rmsusa


Jan 6, 2012, 3:45 PM
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Anybody with great leadership skills, with decent ideas, an open mind and high ability to work with others to get things done would do a decent job.

That said, here are a couple of thoughts.

To run the executive branch is to run a large organization. That's not exclusive to business. Miitary experience at general officer level would be good. We've had a couple of good presidents that came out of the military. Public service as a leader of a large government organization would be good. We've had governors be good presidents.

I do think that deep experience with the economic ecosystem and a feel for how it behaves is a big plus. It'll keep him/her from being snowed by math geniuses and ideologues who pronounce on the economy.

No, the nation is not a business, but that vocabulary doesn't enlighten. Ask yourself what does "nation" mean. I don't think anyone leads or runs the "nation".

What we're talking about in a president is not someone who runs "the nation" but someone who runs the executive branch of government, which is an organization. All organizations share lots of characteristics with business. The president IS a CEO. Chief Executive Officer. Maybe some relevant CEO experience would help.

My personal preferences would give the person with large business CEO experience an edge over someone without it. That experience combines organizational savvy with economic insight. There are CEO who would make awful presidents. Larry Ellison? Mark Zuckerberg?


tready


Jan 6, 2012, 11:35 PM
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rmsusa wrote:
Anybody with great leadership skills, with decent ideas, an open mind and high ability to work with others to get things done would do a decent job.

Why in the world would someone with that skill set want a job in politics?


scrapedape


Jan 7, 2012, 4:06 AM
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rmsusa wrote:
Anybody with great leadership skills, with decent ideas, an open mind and high ability to work with others to get things done would do a decent job.

That said, here are a couple of thoughts.

To run the executive branch is to run a large organization. That's not exclusive to business. Miitary experience at general officer level would be good. We've had a couple of good presidents that came out of the military. Public service as a leader of a large government organization would be good. We've had governors be good presidents.

I do think that deep experience with the economic ecosystem and a feel for how it behaves is a big plus. It'll keep him/her from being snowed by math geniuses and ideologues who pronounce on the economy.

No, the nation is not a business, but that vocabulary doesn't enlighten. Ask yourself what does "nation" mean. I don't think anyone leads or runs the "nation".

What we're talking about in a president is not someone who runs "the nation" but someone who runs the executive branch of government, which is an organization. All organizations share lots of characteristics with business. The president IS a CEO. Chief Executive Officer. Maybe some relevant CEO experience would help.

My personal preferences would give the person with large business CEO experience an edge over someone without it. That experience combines organizational savvy with economic insight. There are CEO who would make awful presidents. Larry Ellison? Mark Zuckerberg?

I agree with most everything you've written here, which is rare.

Though I would point out that Zuckerberg couldn't be president anyway - at least not until 2020.


yanqui


Jan 7, 2012, 4:26 PM
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tready wrote:

Why in the world would someone with that skill set want a job in politics?

The revolving door?


(This post was edited by yanqui on Jan 7, 2012, 4:29 PM)


Toast_in_the_Machine


Jan 8, 2012, 6:46 AM
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tready wrote:
rmsusa wrote:
Anybody with great leadership skills, with decent ideas, an open mind and high ability to work with others to get things done would do a decent job.

Why in the world would someone with that skill set want a job in politics?

That job skill set doesn't work in politics. CEO's get things done because everyone they work with will do what the says to do or they get fired. A president works with congress which is populated by people who both want the president to fail and who think they should be the next president.

A CEO is a petty dictator, why would anyone want someone with that skill set as president?


damienclimber


Jan 8, 2012, 4:35 PM
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Toast_in_the_Machine wrote:
tready wrote:
rmsusa wrote:
Anybody with great leadership skills, with decent ideas, an open mind and high ability to work with others to get things done would do a decent job.

Why in the world would someone with that skill set want a job in politics?

That job skill set doesn't work in politics. CEO's get things done because everyone they work with will do what the says to do or they get fired. A president works with congress which is populated by people who both want the president to fail and who think they should be the next president.

A CEO is a petty dictator, why would anyone want someone with that skill set as president?


Obama is just a puppet without any leadership skills.

Who likes living in the white house as a pawn ,btw Michelle makes all the political decisions.


veganclimber


Jan 8, 2012, 5:49 PM
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damienclimber wrote:
Toast_in_the_Machine wrote:
tready wrote:
rmsusa wrote:
Anybody with great leadership skills, with decent ideas, an open mind and high ability to work with others to get things done would do a decent job.

Why in the world would someone with that skill set want a job in politics?

That job skill set doesn't work in politics. CEO's get things done because everyone they work with will do what the says to do or they get fired. A president works with congress which is populated by people who both want the president to fail and who think they should be the next president.

A CEO is a petty dictator, why would anyone want someone with that skill set as president?


Obama is just a puppet without any leadership skills.

Who likes living in the white house as a pawn ,btw Michelle makes all the political decisions.

Did Rush tell you this?


styndall


Jan 8, 2012, 7:07 PM
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rmsusa wrote:
Anybody with great leadership skills, with decent ideas, an open mind and high ability to work with others to get things done would do a decent job.

That said, here are a couple of thoughts.

To run the executive branch is to run a large organization. That's not exclusive to business. Miitary experience at general officer level would be good. We've had a couple of good presidents that came out of the military. Public service as a leader of a large government organization would be good. We've had governors be good presidents.

I do think that deep experience with the economic ecosystem and a feel for how it behaves is a big plus. It'll keep him/her from being snowed by math geniuses and ideologues who pronounce on the economy.

No, the nation is not a business, but that vocabulary doesn't enlighten. Ask yourself what does "nation" mean. I don't think anyone leads or runs the "nation".

What we're talking about in a president is not someone who runs "the nation" but someone who runs the executive branch of government, which is an organization. All organizations share lots of characteristics with business. The president IS a CEO. Chief Executive Officer. Maybe some relevant CEO experience would help.

My personal preferences would give the person with large business CEO experience an edge over someone without it. That experience combines organizational savvy with economic insight. There are CEO who would make awful presidents. Larry Ellison? Mark Zuckerberg?

Except the CEO who had the job most recently was absolutely disastrous, and people without business experience have done well.

I wouldn't put any stock in CEO experience over any other kind of experience, honestly.


rmsusa


Jan 10, 2012, 7:29 PM
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In reply to:
That job skill set doesn't work in politics. CEO's get things done because everyone they work with will do what the says to do or they get fired.

I think you're wrong about this. People are motivated by lots of things other than fear, which really sucks as motivation. Check the latest HBR issue for some relevant modern leadership thought on the subject.


Toast_in_the_Machine


Jan 10, 2012, 8:42 PM
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rmsusa wrote:
In reply to:
That job skill set doesn't work in politics. CEO's get things done because everyone they work with will do what the says to do or they get fired.

I think you're wrong about this. People are motivated by lots of things other than fear, which really sucks as motivation. Check the latest HBR issue for some relevant modern leadership thought on the subject.

Being the web kinda guy that I am a skedattled over to the HBR site but didn't see anything that popped as far as a related topic. If you saw anything in a paper copy, please, by all means let me know or link it here.

It isn't fear that I was talking about, it is about the last word. If I argue with my wife, at some point and time we have to reach an agreed upon solution. I can not impose my will on her. Nor she on me. There is no hierarchy, there is no year end PMP, no merit raise process, nothing that either of us hold over each other (other than, well, you know). We must reach an agreement thru persuasion and logic.

This is akin the the relationship between the president and congress. Except that instead of a loving wife, congress is a morass of competing egos and conflicting money. No CEO used to getting his way (even if it is a modern "what is your idea" sort of management) does well in this environment. Presidential leadership is absolutely not the same skill as decision making within any level of a corporate organization.


scrapedape


Jan 11, 2012, 7:14 AM
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Toast_in_the_Machine wrote:
rmsusa wrote:
In reply to:
That job skill set doesn't work in politics. CEO's get things done because everyone they work with will do what the says to do or they get fired.

I think you're wrong about this. People are motivated by lots of things other than fear, which really sucks as motivation. Check the latest HBR issue for some relevant modern leadership thought on the subject.

Being the web kinda guy that I am a skedattled over to the HBR site but didn't see anything that popped as far as a related topic. If you saw anything in a paper copy, please, by all means let me know or link it here.

It isn't fear that I was talking about, it is about the last word. If I argue with my wife, at some point and time we have to reach an agreed upon solution. I can not impose my will on her. Nor she on me. There is no hierarchy, there is no year end PMP, no merit raise process, nothing that either of us hold over each other (other than, well, you know). We must reach an agreement thru persuasion and logic.

This is akin the the relationship between the president and congress. Except that instead of a loving wife, congress is a morass of competing egos and conflicting money. No CEO used to getting his way (even if it is a modern "what is your idea" sort of management) does well in this environment. Presidential leadership is absolutely not the same skill as decision making within any level of a corporate organization.

You are focusing narrowly on one aspect of the president's job. Another aspect is that the president is the head of the executive branch of government and all its constituent departments and agencies, and is ultimately responsible for their operation.

Government departments most assuredly do not function as purely hierarchical organizations; many have a life of their own that is driven by the interests of staff at all levels, historical norms, etc. However I would suggest that many large companies are much the same - a set of fragmented fiefdoms over which the nominal CEO has only limited practical authority.


Toast_in_the_Machine


Jan 11, 2012, 1:51 PM
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scrapedape wrote:
Toast_in_the_Machine wrote:
rmsusa wrote:
In reply to:
That job skill set doesn't work in politics. CEO's get things done because everyone they work with will do what the says to do or they get fired.

I think you're wrong about this. People are motivated by lots of things other than fear, which really sucks as motivation. Check the latest HBR issue for some relevant modern leadership thought on the subject.

Being the web kinda guy that I am a skedattled over to the HBR site but didn't see anything that popped as far as a related topic. If you saw anything in a paper copy, please, by all means let me know or link it here.

It isn't fear that I was talking about, it is about the last word. If I argue with my wife, at some point and time we have to reach an agreed upon solution. I can not impose my will on her. Nor she on me. There is no hierarchy, there is no year end PMP, no merit raise process, nothing that either of us hold over each other (other than, well, you know). We must reach an agreement thru persuasion and logic.

This is akin the the relationship between the president and congress. Except that instead of a loving wife, congress is a morass of competing egos and conflicting money. No CEO used to getting his way (even if it is a modern "what is your idea" sort of management) does well in this environment. Presidential leadership is absolutely not the same skill as decision making within any level of a corporate organization.

You are focusing narrowly on one aspect of the president's job. Another aspect is that the president is the head of the executive branch of government and all its constituent departments and agencies, and is ultimately responsible for their operation.

Government departments most assuredly do not function as purely hierarchical organizations; many have a life of their own that is driven by the interests of staff at all levels, historical norms, etc. However I would suggest that many large companies are much the same - a set of fragmented fiefdoms over which the nominal CEO has only limited practical authority.

Large companies I know of are decidedly not fiefdoms over which a CEO has little control. CEOs are the only ones with who crosses the fiefdoms. Off the tip of my head, the only major CEO with a strong IOC organization is Warren B., and he doesn't have limited authority, quite the opposite.


rmsusa


Jan 11, 2012, 2:14 PM
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In reply to:
Being the web kinda guy that I am a skedattled over to the HBR site but didn't see anything that popped as far as a related topic

Jan/Feb Issue with a big smiley on the cover. It's all about happiness in the workplace and elsewhere. Check out the retail article first. Click on "The magazine" from hbr.org and peruse the articles. Íf you register, I think you can read 3 articles for free.

It's been a long time since real leadership has involved fear.


rmsusa


Jan 11, 2012, 2:27 PM
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In reply to:
Large companies I know of are decidedly not fiefdoms over which a CEO has little control.

I think you're investing too much power in the head of an organization.

Much of the reason that initiatives in big organizations come to grief is simple failure to get buy-in. Ford, Motorola, Kodak, Yahoo, AOL ... I can think of a host of companies that the CEO had trouble moving.

Initiatives have to be sold to the people and organizations that carry them out. These people and organizations will survive the tenure of the CEO and they know it. That can be fatal to a project. In some sense, this is what true leadership is all about. Persuasion and inspiration line people up and keep them moving toward the goal. Leadership is actually a profoundly political skill.

ANY large organization exhibits inertia, mostly for the reasons that scrapedape pointed out. If you browse through the HBR case studies, you'll find examples.


(This post was edited by rmsusa on Jan 11, 2012, 2:28 PM)


Toast_in_the_Machine


Jan 12, 2012, 7:10 PM
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rmsusa wrote:
In reply to:
Being the web kinda guy that I am a skedattled over to the HBR site but didn't see anything that popped as far as a related topic

Jan/Feb Issue with a big smiley on the cover. It's all about happiness in the workplace and elsewhere. Check out the retail article first. Click on "The magazine" from hbr.org and peruse the articles. Íf you register, I think you can read 3 articles for free.

It's been a long time since real leadership has involved fear.

I usually hit HBR when I travel, and I'll be flying in Feb. So for now, I'll be lazy and wait until then.

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