As the 2012 presidential campaign gets under way, the selection of candidates begins in earnest. The Democrats have the easier job this time, since they have a sitting president to defend. Make no mistake about it, defense is the right description. The job of all the flaks on the Democrat side is to protect the President from any unforced errors. The Democrat operatives are ably assisted in this effort by the main stream media. Their task is to downplay gaffes, blunders and the incomprehensible and illogical gibberish that comes out of the White House.
The Republicans, however, have a much harder task facing them in the next few months.
The have to select from the presidential wannabees the one man or woman who is the least bad candidate. Not the best candidate, the least bad.
As a business executive, I’ve had to interview and hire hundreds of people over the course of thirty-five years in industry, and regardless of what the Human Resources Department claims, the absolutely best candidate is never hired. The least bad candidate gets the job.
An apparently perfect candidate might not be interested. You want experience? Well, a seasoned person with lots of experience may not be free to change jobs. Companies use “golden handcuffs” for a good reason.
The apparently perfect candidate might have just started a new job. Working for another firm for only a few weeks wouldn’t look good, and you have to ask yourself, if they quit some other firm in a very short time, how long would they stay with your company?
When hiring, you end up with a stack of resumes for people who are available, but not every possible candidate. You look over each candidate’s resume, concentrating on those qualities that you felt were important when you defined the job. Then you sort all the resumes into two stacks, one being called “not a chance” and the other called “maybe.”
The “not a chance” stack go back to human resources for the obligatory “thanks, but no thanks” letter, and the “maybe” stack is reviewed once again. This second review is a search for weakness and flaws that would be “deal wreckers.” After this second culling process, it starts all over again until there are only two or three candidates who haven’t succumbed to being classified as “chaff” rather than “wheat.”
We do the same thing with the various candidates who have declared interest in becoming president. But, just like any business, there are often factors that might conceivably influence your evaluation. For instance, one candidate might be extremely well qualified, but another is the nephew of the company’s president. That situation would almost assuredly factor into your evaluation of that candidate’s qualifications. To ignore it would be (in the words of a former boss) “career limiting.” The candidate might be someone who already works at the firm, and is looking for a promotion, or they might be a member of a gender- or racial minority. Ignoring those factors would ultimately be just as career limiting.
We have the same situation in the political selection process. Perhaps a Senator feels that he or she is due for a promotion to President. As if the presidency were a job based on seniority, not skills and competence.
Perhaps a candidate is a member of a minority such as the Black-Jewish-KKK Sisterhood. Rationally or irrationally, the candidate feels that they’ve won the ethnic Triple Crown and would be a sure thing in 2012, so they toss their hat into the ring.
In business, a great candidate might want too much in terms of compensation. In politics, the candidate might need too much in terms of a campaign war chest, depending on the negatives that have to be overcome. In either case, a rational manager has to send out that “Thanks, but no thanks” letter to a terrific candidate. Money after all, regardless what the Liberal-Progressive-Democrats appear to believe, doesn’t grow on trees, or appear when you snap your fingers, or can always be borrowed from China.
When searching to fill a senior position in the private sector, there is no allowance for on-the-job-training. A senior executive has to demonstrate that they already have the training needed. The very same idea holds true in the political world and is perhaps even more essential. The most damage a private sector executive can do is cost his employer some money. The president has the opportunity to cost people their lives. On the job training is not an acceptable flaw. It would be, as noted above, a real “deal wrecker.”
In the private sector, top positions often require multiple interviews with multiple decision makers. These decision makers form an ad hoc committee, and their group judgment will determine if the candidate gets the job. If every member of this ad hoc group favors a different candidate, nothing useful will be accomplished.
In the political world, this is also true, but in a slightly different sense. If the Republicans nominate Candidate “A”, while Libertarians favor “B” and Conservatives are cheerleaders for “C”, and the Tea Parties are wildly enthused about “D”, we can all look forward to another four years of Obama and Company.
All the opposition parties must make every effort possible to coalesce around a single candidate, or they can give up hope of saving the nation from four more years of Liberal-Progressive-Democrat fiscal insanity, the support of nations and groups that are literally enemies of the United States, and the disgraceful treatment of allies of long standing.
The next few months are critical for the future of the nation, our children and grandchildren and for western civilization as we know it today. Let the candidate selection process begin in earnest, and let us all be willing to quickly send out those “Thanks, but no thanks” letters to the candidates who don’t make the cut. The candidate selected will need all the time, funds and volunteer support possible to offset the bully pulpit of a sitting President, and a well-funded, tightly organized and controlled party apparatus, as well as the need to overcome the inherent bias of the main stream media.