Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The One

TRD101: The One

by Michael Maynard

March 15, 2006

Now that the Oscars are over, and as of tomorrow morning, you’ll have turned in your “for entertainment purposes only” NCAA college basketball March Madness brackets picks, the collective odds-making punditry will turn its “six will get you five” focus to the quadrennial beauty pageant known as the Presidential elections. We’ve already begun to see the before-conception poll results matching those whom the “Inside the Beltway”self anointed political elite think will be the candidates. The top two names being bandied around and test against each other in the polls are Senators John McCain and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Neither will win their party’s nomination, let alone the Presidential election. But, as usual, I’m ahead of myself, so let’s not discuss who will be the candidates at this time, but what is needed in a candidate to be successful in 2008 and in his or her one or two terms in office.

Would I like to be President? Of course! As modest, calm and diplomatic as I am, I’d make a great President and would have wiped out at least 5 countries by this time in the second term. The annexation of Canada and Mexico would be nearing completion. My Vice (ahem) President, Catherine Zeta-Jones-Douglas-Maynard, would have been put in charge of that program to take her mind off of the unfortunate hunting accident loss of her late husband. The House of Representatives, if ever let back in session, would start running smoothly under the direction of
Speaker for Life, William Belichick.

No, I would not like to be President of the United States under any circumstances. It is the ultimate in high responsibility, low direct authority stress-laden job. You don’t have direct control over the purse strings. You can attempt to develop a strategic plan and direction, but have to get two boards of directors totaling 535 members to sign off on it. Forget planagement because by the time the implementation has gone through all the levels of bureaucracy and agencies involved, you probably won’t remember what you wanted to have done. There’s no direct bottom line and you’re accountable to billions of shareholders.

And that’s the easy part of the job. What would drive me most crazy is the 3 years I would have had to spend on the road giving the same stump speech, hitting up people for money and smiling at some lame joke being made by a local factotum in East Podunk after an already 18 hour day. Then there is the 24 hour news organizations who are sitting on every word you say, waiting for you to screw up or say something controversial so you hear it in an endless 72 hour feedback cycle. No, I wouldn’t want to be President that much to go through this process. The joke about anyone wanting to run for President being disqualified for being crazy appears to me to be prima facie accurate.

Who would want to be President of the United States in 2008? The war in Iraq will likely still be in a deadly stalemate. The US economy will be in the dumper because of the disastrous fiscal and monetary policies of the previous administration. The healthcare crisis will remain unsolved and unchecked. Action on global warming will need to be taken immediately and the list of problems and issues is endless. Global relationships will be at an all time low. The red-state/blue-state culture wars will be in full rampage after the election. You face all of this after being elected with no more than 52% of the 40% of those who could have voted and probably facing a split or dual opposition Congress.

Why would anyone want this job now?

Senators Clinton and McCain are very bright and very capable people. Both might be excellent Presidents under different circumstances. Right now, both are so polarizing because of their legislative and personal views and histories, I doubt either would go far in their party’s primaries. Mrs. Clinton, through little fault of her own, is anathema to the Middle American male voter and Mr. McCain, because of his personal believes, is anathema to a majority of women voters.

What is needed now is a healer, a person of charisma, dignity, intelligence, modesty and humor who can start the slow uniting and refocusing of all the country, especially after an unpopular and costly war. Neither Senator McCain nor Senator Clinton are healers. Neither are Senator Kerry nor Senator Biden, good men as they are. Perhaps Senator Hagel is, but his views on social issues will cause many on the left to tune him out completely. Senator Feingold lost me when he didn’t put up a stronger fight against Supreme Court Judge Samuel Alito’s nomination. Now pushing for the censuring of President Bush strikes me very strongly of grandstanding. What does censuring George Bush now do to change the direction of this country and the world? At best, nothing and more likely, nothing good.

Forget Mitt Romney. Perhaps Governor Warner, Kaine of Vilsack will grow on me, but thus far, they appear to be in critical need of personality implants.

Think back to the person who galvanized the 2004 Democratic convention with his speech and subsequent interviews. He’s the one, he’s the healer - Barack Obama.

TRD101 knows this: I’ve worked with top executives. I’ve run companies. You can’t compare being President of the United States with any CEO position because it’s unlike any other job in the world. You have to be destined, you have to be the one to be an excellent President. Very few of us are so destined and fewer of them can do that job well. Only one can at a time.

And that is the Real Deal 101 for today, like it or not.

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© Copyright Michael Maynard, TRD101, March 2006.

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