Monday, January 29, 2007

Things I Don't Understand

1) Why every Boston cabbie thinks that the most direct route to/from Logan Airport and the North End is through the Ted Williams tunnel ...

2) How people can be taken seriously as candidates for President with exactly zero experience as an executive in prior public office and zero significant pieces of legislation to their credit at the national level ... Don't they have to, at least at some prior point in their political careers, have made a decision for which they were directly responsible for the consequences? Are we really that desperate?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear!

Why DO people think US Senators are good candidates for President?

There are many attributes a good candidate should have but the first 3 below are missing in most candidates running at this moment.

A good candidate should have:
1. run a large organization for a long period (at least 4 years?),
2. developed a series of annual budgets and lived within them,
3. hired (directly or indirectly) and managed a competent group of 2nd and 3rd tier managers.
4. decent public speaking skills and
5. been deemed a success at doing it.

A good candidate should be able to fit this aphorism:
Manage yourself, manage your boss, hire good people.


Large organization = maybe a thousand employees: military, corporate, state governor, mayor.

Anonymous said...

I agree.
H.R.Clinton, J McCain, B. Obama, J. Edwards... Have these people run anything larger than their office staff?


I was born in New York City but have lived in the Midwest for the 25++ years since I was 18.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York is my pick as a great fit to the 5 criteria in the first comment above.

MB was an Eagle Scout, he got a EE degree from John Hopkins and an MBA from Harvard. He became a General partner at Salomon Brothers and made a huge fortune starting and running his own company Bloomberg L.P.

In the late 1960s and 1970s New York City became a big mess. I think the population shrank by at least a million people.

Today New York City is on the move and growing. It is today at the highest population it has ever had.
In my opinion it still has a long way to go but M. Bloomberg has done a great job.

One example of what I like:
MB has brought thinking and planning for the future back into the city. His latest planning process, kicked off last December with a view to 2030, is looking great.


His predecessor, Rudolph Giuliani, was looking pretty down and out at the end of his tenure until his 5-Star performance after 9/11 raised his profile.

RG did have noteworthy achievements but in my eyes he has some major flaws as a manager. Here are 3:

RG hired, admired and partnered with Bernard Kerik. Then promoted him to Bush as a candidate for head of Homeland Security. - Do we need more folks of the caliber of Harriet Meiers? I hope never to hear our president say anything like "Heck of a job, Brownie."

RG botched the divorce from his 2nd wife. It was a very public mess.

RG located New York's emergency command and control center in the World Center rather than a concrete bunker in an outlying region.

JG said...

"How people can be taken seriously as candidates for President with exactly zero experience as an executive in prior public office ...?"

"H.R.Clinton, J McCain, B. Obama, J. Edwards... Have these people run anything larger than their office staff?... Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York is my pick as a great fit to the 5 criteria in the first comment above. "

Bloomberg agrees with both of you. He recently gave a speech saying legislators are unfit to lead the excutive branch.

The City Council's members got all upset thinking he was talking about them being unfit to take his job (which they certainly are) but they think small (one of their disqualifications) ... and more than a few people have noted that Mike could fund a $500 million third-party run for President on just the interest from his savings account.

As a long-time NYCer I also think Bloomberg could be much better presidental material than Giuliani -- and I'm a great admirer of what Giuliani accomplished here. But each job needs the right person.

Rudy was the perfect SOB to come in swinging a baseball bat to bust up all the rot that was taking over the city government, then get the cleaners back on the job cleaning up, and turn the direction of the whole thing around. I doubt Bloomberg could have done anything like that. But after Rudy got things back headed the right way with some accountability installed, IMHO Bloomberg has done a much better job as an executive manager steering the direction of the city than Rudy, and he's gained some real political skills doing so over his two terms.

The presidency seems more a job that needs Bloomberg skills than Rudy skills. And I'm not sure how attractive Rudy is going to look to the masses after his opponents start hammering on his definitely unattractive traits, which they haven't done at all yet.

The NY Sun recently ran a long article interviewing people who know Bloomberg about the possibility of his making a 3rd-party run. They said "no way" *if* the Dems and Repubs nominate "reasonable" candidates in his mind -- but if they don't, he might well run just to get his issues on the table and make the parties address them, and for the *fun* of the challenge of it. He'd be able to do exactly what he wants -- no need to raise money from anyone -- and it wouldn't cost his wealth more than a vacation excursion costs the average person. There'd be no Ross Perot-type meltdown, he'd be the real deal for sure. And the idea has definitely been introduced to him.

Unlikely but possible, and I'd love to see it. The NY Times editorial page would go nuts. I'd love to see it just for that.

Anonymous said...

I am not quite sure what JG meant about the NY Times going nuts.

an article from the past...

October 23, 2005 in the NY Times

The New York Times editorial board today endorsed Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg for re-election, saying he has a chance to be ''one of the greatest mayors in New York history'' if he builds on his first-term achievements.

At the same time, the board says, his image may well be tarnished by his ''obscene'' unlimited spending on his political campaigns.

The editorial hails Mr. Bloomberg for winning direct control over the city's public schools and improving them, overseeing a reduction in crime rates, using the 311 phone system to address citizen complaints, and fostering ''racial harmony.''

More than anything, the editorial says, the mayor has shown that ''good government is not a zero-sum game'' -- that City Hall policies can yield benefits across neighborhoods, and that the old stereotype of an ungovernable New York can be disproved.

- snip -

Lord said...

Experience, however, seems far from foolproof. Just look where we are now.

Anonymous said...

I do believe Abraham Lincoln, considered by many to be the greatest President in the history of the United States, served only in the House of Representatives before assuming the powers of the presidency.

Anonymous said...

Lincoln was incredibly thoughtful. He wrote his own stuff and it reads well today.

Please point us to 5 excellent pieces written by each candidate running today. Not stuff written by PR firms or Frank Luntz. Then we can see how at least their writing (thinking processes) stack up against Lincoln and maybe MLK Jr. or WSC

JG said...

Anonymous said...

"I am not quite sure what JG meant about the NY Times going nuts...

"October 23, 2005 in the NY Times

"The New York Times editorial board today endorsed Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg for re-election, saying he has a chance to be ''one of the greatest mayors in New York history'' if he builds on his first-term achievements.

"At the same time, the board says, his image may well be tarnished by his ''obscene'' unlimited spending on his political campaigns...."
~~~~

Well there, you know just what I'm talking about.

The Times thinks Mike's a great mayor -- and if he is, it is absolutely because he sidestepped the inept-to-corrupt Democratic political machine that sells judgeships for $50k in Brooklyn and nominates lifetime political hacks, with no visible skills at anything other than trading patronage and pork-distribution favors and playing race-card politics, like Dinkins, Green and Ferrer, for the city's top office.

Bloomberg ran as a nominal Republican spending his own money only because he and no chance whatsoever of getting past those guys' operations (not to mention Al Sharpton's) to get the Democratic party's nomination and support, like money.

Then the Times bewails the fact that a person like Mike is able to spend his own money to do that --to present himself to the voters as an independent and capable candidate who's not up to his eyeballs in poltical debts to every local district leader hack, interest group, political clubhouse, and race card player. The fact that he didn't get the nomination through those guys is undemocratic! ... it should be illegal (if only we had better campaign finance laws!) ... it's "obscene"!

Of course, Mike didn't spend any more money than the Democratic party spent on its candidate through its various financial sources, counting its suborgnizations and allies which largely live off the taxpayers, and the labor of its machine workers. He may have spent less.

But he spent his own money, and that's "obscene".

Even though that's how you get a great mayor, and we've all got to appreciate, support, and be thankful for a great mayor, says the Times.

That's not nuts? It isn't fun to watch? ;-)

If Mike ran a $500 million self-financed campaign for president the Times would be giving us the same thing all the way through, only an order of magnitude greater: Mike's a great guy and a candidate of superior ability, who best of all has a free hand to do whatever he thinks is right because he owes not a thing to the Christian right or the tax cut lobbyists or the unions or the Deaniac left or anyone else. Isn't it awful! We have to get a law passed to stop this from happening ever again!

I'd love it.