Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The President as CEO

Look, far be it from me to defend the McCain campaign, which I find personally disgusting on a number of levels. But people are making too much of McCain surrogate and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina's statement that Sarah Palin is unqualified to run Hewlett-Packard. In fact, she's totally right when she says that none of the four major candidates are qualified to run HP. That's why they're running for political office and not running a company.

We need to get over this President-as-Ubermensch thing. The President needs to be good at one job - managing the executive branch of the federal government. That's it. Though it's a complex, intensely important and significant job, it is still, after all, one job and not every job. Does the President need to know how to put up drywall? Or write complex mathematical proofs? There's a big difference between "being a highly skilled, intelligent, rational and responsible individual" and "knowing how to be a good CEO."

So why does a President need to know how to run a multinational corporation again? This "President as CEO" metaphor gets trotted out a lot, but they're entirely different jobs. Sure, they're both managerial in nature, but a lot of jobs are managerial in nature, adn I wouldn't turn over the Lakers to Joe Biden either. And the entire purpose in the position is vastly different: The presidency is about public service, Chief Executive Officers are about pleasing shareholders/investors.

Also, need I remind you, both our President and Vice-President at the moment are former CEO's, and frankly, they're not really up to this task. Cheney may have been a kickass businessman, and I'd definitely hire to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts, but I'd never want him to be President. NO THANKS. I'm okay with a President who's good enough at politics to get some things done and who has similar goals for American policy as myself. That's it.

Plus, can we get over the "Sarah Palin is inexperienced" thing? SARAH PALIN IS FUCKING CRAZY. I mean, Amy Winehouse isn't experienced enough to be President either, but that's not the first thing you'd say if I nominated her for the job.

11 comments:

Mark VandenBerg said...

Aren't the citizens "shareholders" in that all of the members of the society have an investment in the society?

Lons said...

That metaphor only works if you're using the term "shareholders" in an intensely vague fashion.

My taxes are an investment, but not made with the expectation of future financial gain. I'm pooling my resources with my fellow citizens to provide for common needs that can't be ideally met otherwise, like an army and a police force and infrastructure and schools.

But anyway, you're scrutinizing the metaphor and missing the larger point - the job of HP CEO and President of the United States require entirely different backgrounds and experience, and don't really have that much in common, pragmatically, on a day-to-day basis. So the question of whether or not Sarah Palin is sufficiently capable of doing the job is immaterial.

GimmeDaWatch said...

Agreed. Although it seems so obvious that it should go without saying. Pundits will seize on anything, no matter how inane. Like, "Being president is the hardest job in the world, ergo a president should be able to do any other job no problem since those jobs are by definition easier". Yes, it's moronic. But not as moronic as "When I say fundamentals, I mean the American worker. I don't know what you think about them, but I says they'z Strrrrrrrong".

Peter L. Winkler said...

Carly Fiorina should shut up, given her piss-poor performance as CEO of Hewlett Packard, an irony that no one in the media bothered to point out.

Anonymous said...

You sure like to throw the words "crazy" and "hate" around a lot when talking about Republicans. I think it's time you watched this video, and put "crazy hate" into perspective:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3369102968312745410

Lons said...

Yeah, Anony, I DO often describe Republicans using the terms "crazy" or "hate." Perhaps this is because they are so crazy and hateful.

But---but---but---but....MOOSLIMS! is not really a particularly thoughtful response to this observation.

Brian said...

do you have any idea why the obama campaign hasn't been hitting mccain on his involvement with the keating five since the country's financial system is in the shitter? seems to me that the 1989 lending crisis was similar and mccain was personally up to his eyeballs in it!

Anonymous said...

But---but---but---but... McCain and Palin want to outlaw abortion! Palin wants to introduce the concept of abstinence and bible studies into the classroom, in addition to the subjects that are already taught! They want to outlaw gay marriage! Ideas which will NEVER get approved by Congress! THE HORROR!

This time, actually watch the video, and then maybe reconsider the type of "crazy hate" you should really be worried about. The most important issue of this election should not be about certain ideological beliefs that will never get approved, but rather, the fact the Nazi Germany Part 2 is spreading like cancer in the world and is already causing a lot of murder, torture, oppression, and mayhem. As a Jew myself, this is a primary concern for me.

Obama wants to negotiate with these people. These people do NOT negotiate. I'm voting for the war and POW veteran who understands how to deal with these people. We'll worry about creationism being taught in the classroom later.

Oh, and your assumption that I must be some dumb hick from the South [Mooslims!] just further proves that your bigotry and hatred towards anyone who expresses even a vaguely Republican view is really getting out of hand.

Lons said...

Anony, you have been sold a lie. I'm not saying there are no crazy fundamentalist Muslim zealots out there who want to hurt Americans. But calling them "Nazi Germany Part 2" is an insult to the millions of people who died as a result of the Nazis.

These disparate Muslim groups - Hamas, al Qaeda, the Mahdi Army - aren't a unified front in control of a large military. It's apples to oranges, man, and the way to stop them is not starting a bunch of wars with Iraq and Iran and Russia and Spain.

But all this has NOTHING TO DO WITH MY POINT that Sarah Palin is fucking crazy. If you want to be on topic, refute that rather than turning the conversation to this silly "Islamofascism is the new Communism" thing for the umpteenth time. And the threat of Communism was overstated too, just so you know.

Mike Rhoads said...

I hate when the two are compared as well but I love when a stereotype comes to life and responds to blog posts anonymously.

How do some people accept mentioning Islam as a relevant response to any argument?

Logo said...

@Anonymous
I don't quite see the logic in you argument that being a POW qualifies McCain as the authority on "dealing with these people".