Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Oval Office Space

From what I see on the TV, it seems many Republicans are having a hard time deciding who should run against the President this year. People have all sorts of methods for picking candidates. For instance, my mother seems to vote for the man she could most easily imagine being married to (Mitt Romney, last I heard). Others seem to choose the candidates that are most understandable, hottest, show strong leadership, or are principled and moral (good luck with that one). Since whatever method people use seems to be falling short for so many this time, I would like to recommend an approach that has worked for me.

In recent years I have tried to remember that electing someone for office is no more or less than hiring a person to do a job. So I like to imagine the candidates as co-workers, and compare them to people I know, or with whom I've had some experience. I am often surprised at how much this clarifies things.

Mitt Romney is probably easiest. The quintessential CEO, he is the clear choice if you think the purpose of government is to maximize financial return for people who own American dollars.* If, on the other hand, you believe the government should maximize the value citizens receive for tax dollars, or care about any of the non-financial aspects of life, you may want to keep looking. Romney also seems to fight the perception that he would sell the whole place for a bigger bonus and a private jet.

Rick Perry, who we may not have to kick around much longer, is obviously Head of Sales. He won the Salesperson of the Month award every month until they finally retired it. He drives an El Dorado with a Rolls Royce grille and longhorns on the hood, and he has slept with every woman in the office.

Newt Gingrich runs the Research Department. He will tell anyone who will listen that business majors are all idiots. He is the guy that puts the note on the refrigerator about eating other people's lunches. He is also the number one customer of the Honor Snacks, and only paid once when he noticed someone watching.

Ron Paul is the last remaining member of old school upper management. He was CFO for thirty-five years, but was recently given the title of Ombudsmen and relocated to the Florida office. He is convinced that globalization and rapid growth through acquisition is going to bite the company square in the ass. He is correct, but this doesn't change the fact that this is how business is done today. He collects Hummel figurines.

Rick Santorum? Look for the guy in your office wearing a sweater vest. It looks like Bachman is gone, so try it yourself with Huntsman.  It's fun and informative, and may even help you make up your mind.

*This is an application of the principle of "maximizing shareholder value," which holds that the primary purpose of a corporation is to enrich the people who own it. Popularized in the 1980's when Romney was one of the people buying and breaking up companies, the approach has become a foundational concept of corporate management. Note that customers, partners, employees, and society at large are not really part of the formula, except indirectly.


  1. I want to elect someone who will be a strong leader with a good moral compass and will transcend petty party politics. Somehow, I don't see that person running. Hell, I don't even know who that person might be, but we really, really need him or her!

  2. i work with those guys! and may have to start calling one of the dudes in my office "newt". known for putting up signs he can ignore (ie: "please clean up your own mess. your mother doesn't work here.")

    personally? i lean toward the CEO types. i don't care what they do with their private parts on their own time... can they run the freakin' country? a humane CEO is a bonus.