Saturday, May 25, 2013

Benign Neglect?

The Harvard Business School teaches an element of management that is called "Benign Neglect." It is centered on the fact that roughly 60% of the things that crosses an executive's desk require no action by the executive. Either the problem will disappear or be solved by others, or the "emergency" will have been eliminated or solved by others by the time the executive needs to pay it any attention. It is dependent on the executive being trained and able to determine correctly which 40% actually need his or her attention.

Apparently someone had told Mr. Obama about this element. Also, apparently, Mr. Obama has not taken the requisite Harvard Business School course that would have taught him the finer points of the application.

The job of an executive is to supervise and direct. And you do that with knowledge of all that your subordinates are doing. When a subordinate hides something from you...regardless of the intention...they are suborning your authority and leaving you open to failure above and beyond your own choices...those people are 1) badly chosen, and 2) need to be fired forthwith.

The actions on A)Benghazi, B) the IRS, and C)the "creative" subpoenas with regard to the AP and Rosen have resulted in a plethora of "I didn't know"s, "I learned of it when you did", and "Someone else was investigating it and it was inappropriate for me to take any action" claims. Really???! 

I would argue before a jury that there was a pretty obvious pattern here of abdicating the responsibility of supervision and direction. But...that is not the thing that really torches me off...after all, I knew all along that Mr. Obama was administratively inept. What really frosts me is that he either does not now recognize his error, or he doesn't care.

Think about it...he doesn't have to run for office again. If he wished he could be truthful and right the ship, admitting the stupidity of his subordinates and their misdirected goal of "protecting" him, allow or direct them to fall on their swords and get on with the business of trying to do the best he can for the country in the next 3 years.

He could discover the concept of consequences, even as he protects his legacy, and throw the idiots with whom he has surrounded himself under the bus and pretend insight, going on to "do the right things" in actually and realistically compromising on getting some mutually acceptable bills passed. Unfortunately, i don't see that as happening.

For those who say that the Republicans are standing in his way, I suggest that is no different from the times that Democrats stood in the way of Republican Presidents. It is a challenge for President s to deal with the opposition. Some have done it successfully: look at Clinton...and at Reagan. It is an art or administering a country that is learned over time with the right training and background. It is not overcome by calling on the citizens to demonize those that disagree...that makes enemies and entrenches positions, making cooperation is an all or nothing approach. That has never been successful in America...and usually it has been disastrous. 

Look at what is going on. You determine what the approach being taken is...and how well chosen it is in the interest of the country.

Think we are on the right track?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Mr. Obama is a Capitalist...really!

Mr Obama is a (C)apitalist.  Oh, I acknowledge that he often speaks of that practice with derision and loathing, pointing to what he considers to be the evils that such a practice visits upon the "middle class", the "common folk".

But take a few moments to listen to, and analyze, his criticisms.  Listen to the activities he defines as the excesses of Capitalism that warrants government supervision that (he argues) would lessen the worst of Capitalism's excesses.

He has two major criticisms: excessive accumulation of wealth and excessive accumulation of power.  In his eyes, unfettered Capitalism will concentrate both wealth and power in those who practice free-trade Capitalism.  And, regardless of who those "successful" people or companies are, by gaining such a concentration, they become intrinsically "bad."

Well, we could spend weeks discussing the definitions of "bad"...and "good".  Such definitions depend on the point of view of the definer...and whether such a person is looking short or long term.  That is for a different time and different discussion.

For the sake of this discussion I will argue on the presumption that Mr. Obama's definitions and claims are currently the predominant point of view.

On that basis I claim that by his own words and actions, Mr. Obama proves that a dedicated Capitalist.

Most of his followers respond in horror, claiming that he is a politician with the peoples' interests at heart.  Well, I agree that that is what he claims.  But what is he actually doing and what are the results...

What Capitalists do...and what they want to win.  That is the goal.  And that is defined by accumulation of wealth and power, with little regard to the wants and wishes of those who oppose them.  And when they have achieved something, they do not sit back in satisfaction and enjoy the fruits of their labors; no, they move immediately on to continue to destroy any opposition and to attend to any potential threats to their continuation in power and in riches.

Those politicians that are most revered in America have been those who, once an election was won and they had a certain amount of power, turned to governing; they realized that upon taking office, they represented not just their followers, but the entire country.  The realized that they had to protect citizens who did not agree with their vision.  And so they became more statesmanlike in their efforts, words and actions.  The time for pillaging was over and a time for governing at hand.

Campaigning has always taken on the practices and attitudes of unfettered Capitalism: win at all costs, truth be damned, and take no prisoners.

Governing is, essentially, reconstruction.

Candidate Obama was and remains the ultimate campaigner, tossing great sounding but undefined phrases around like candy and lying about his opponents with conviction and talent.  He is not alone; most politicians do this to some degree.  But he is in a class by himself in the degree and effectiveness of his efforts.

Great.  He won.

After sworn into office, he now had the chance to govern.  He had the chance to turn into a statesman.

Whether on purpose or lack of perception, he never made that turn.

He is like a Capitalist who is not yet sated; he has not yet gathered enough power to his administration nor taken enough of the wealth of the nation under the control of his administration.  Oh, he has tried.  He has spent money that he could only spend by borrowing.  He has made appointments that have been ruled unconstitutional in order to run government the way that best suits his view of an all-powerful government that provides a nanny-state for the citizens.  That is his definition of "good."

But he does this by concentrating on destroying his opposition, not convincing them through slow evolution of his governing concepts; it is his way or the highway, and any appearance of"working with others not of like mind" is a sham.

He is every bit as totalitarian as the robber barons of yore, or of the now-so-criticized Captains of Industry of the last century.  He is the epitome of the very persons and activities of which he so complains in his raids into the countryside to trumpet his rule.

President Obama....Capitalist.  Sneaky, able, ...and remarkably successful.