But Is He Competent?

by Dave Schuler on July 29, 2014

Speaking of competence, if his ad campaigns against Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn are any gauge, Republican (or, perhaps, “Republican”) challenger Bruce Rauner may be running on his own:

The Illinois governor’s race pits incumbent Pat Quinn, a Democrat, against upstart non-politician Bruce Rauner. Why are the stakes so huge? Because Illinois is arguably the worst-run state in America. It’s a blue state that has been run for many years by corrupt and bungling politicians, including Rod Blagojevich, who went to jail for trying to sell a U.S. Senate seat, and Mr. Quinn, who has run the state’s finances into the gutter.

This year shows no improvement. Even as the national employment picture has improved, Illinois actually managed to lose more than 15,000 jobs throughout the first half of 2014. In June of 1998, Illinois had 5.07 million private-sector jobs. In June of 2014, Illinois had just 4.98 million. Somehow, Illinois managed to lose jobs during this 16-year time frame.

Being competent as a manager, financier, or in business may not be the same as being a competent elected official. There’s a similarity among them but, given the increasing institutionalization of just about everything in our society, the skills may not be entirely the same. That may be particularly true of a candidate who has largely financed his campaign himself to date. It may well be the ase that no one is competent to be governor of Illinois (or president of the United States) any more.

Don’t get me wrong. Unless he does something catastrophic and unforgivable I plan to vote for Rauner in November. The sad reality is that if Quinn is re-elected there is simply no hope for change and Illinois is in desperate need of a change.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

jan July 29, 2014 at 12:47 pm

” It may well be the case that no one is competent to be governor of Illinois (or president of the United States) any more.”

IMO, someone having competence is someone who is capable and qualified for the position in question. To be qualified alludes to one having experience, successes, and areas of outstanding expertise, lending them the qualifications for holding certain jobs. Consequently, I think the root of having so many incompetent politicians in power lies with the electorates’ own incompetent decision-making, rather than the sheer impossibility of tasking a complex job to someone capable of turning a bad, ‘inherited’ set of circumstances around.

After all, what attracts people to vote for a person? Time and time again I hear people say charisma is a huge factor — how likable and appealing someone is to the public. In the case of Obama, his “coolness” was a big factor. However, coolness and charisma don’t always translate into competence, let alone the cultivation of wisdom towards making decisions that broadly effect not only this country but the world. In fact, oftentimes, it’s the dull, serious, more principled candidates — having executive and adminisrative experience, tenacity of convictions, the ability to go against superficial tides of opinions to reach long range goals — who are passed over and fade into the woodwork of past options.

For example, if the election were held today, the latest CNN poll indicates a significant “buyer’s remorse” as Romney would now beat Obama by 9 pts. Ironically, some of Romney’s positions on Russian aggressiveness, health care foibles, concerns over the rise of terrorism, more coherent assessment of ME tensions, his alternative to the GM bailout seem prescient, rather than ‘foolish,’ which is how they were cast and then mocked by the winner of the last election. But, the public was transfixed on how the dems defined, ridiculed and annihilated a successful businessman’s character and achievements, remaining loyal enough to reelect the cool democrat, despite his wretched domestic record and myopic visions of foreign policy.

Since then the missteps and hubris have only increased, along with Obama becoming even more casual and disconnected from the daily debris of scandals, national divisiveness, border invasions, and ME melt-downs. As I see it, though, this kind of incompetence was voluntarily bought and delivered to ourselves, via a majority of voters demonstrating a similar lack of disengagement and insight into the man to whom they gave back the reins of power.

TastyBits July 29, 2014 at 4:43 pm

@jan

The first qualification a politician needs is the ability to win an election, and Romney could not close the deal. The best salesman is not the nicest guy. It is the one with the most sales.

If Romney could not convince the American voters you disparage, why do you think the world’s thugs are going to be cowed by him? Is he going to put in place better sanctions than President Obama? Is he going to do a hostile takeover of Russia?

steve July 29, 2014 at 5:59 pm

I don’t see much correlation between business skills and those of a politician.

Steve

jan July 31, 2014 at 2:31 pm

If Romney could not convince the American voters you disparage, why do you think the world’s thugs are going to be cowed by him? Is he going to put in place better sanctions than President Obama? Is he going to do a hostile takeover of Russia?

Although late in responding, I’ll do so now.

My Romney comments were based on his seemingly greater awareness of problems when he was articulating U.S. issues during the 2012 election cycle, more than Obama, who merely downplayed them or, better yet, just mocked Romney — something this president often engages in when there is nowhere else for him to go.

I also think Romney is simply less of an ideologue and more of a pragmatic practitioner of policy management. In my pre-election reading about him, his ethics was strongly praised by those dealing with him in business. His turn-around capacity of failing enterprises was over 70% — making him tops in that field. He walked away, though, from making billions to go into public service, worked for rather than depended on inheritance money from his rich father, and came from a self-starter, successful background — something that was entirely absent in Obama’s personal resume.

Generally speaking, I think success yields respect from others, even if they don’t like you. Consequently, I think he would have garnered more respect from overseas allies and enemies, alike, in how he integrated U.S. foreign policy with others. Furthermore, Romney exhibited humility in how he conducted his life, in non-political ways. I remember when asked by 60 Minutes what he thought about at night, his answer was that he prayed for “wisdom” to do the right thing. I was quite taken with that answer. IMO, Romeny was a good man who at least had the potential of being a good president. As for Obama, I’ve already seen what he has been able to offer the country, and I’m not impressed, but rather depressed by what he deems as contributing to the “betterment” of society.

However, I do agree with you about Romney being an inadequate salesmen. He seemed as uncomfortable, stiff on the campaign circuit as Obama seems cool, loose and relishing it — running away to campaign-like venues, throughout his presidency, seemingly to deliberately distant himself from the travails and mendacity of DC protocol, conflict, and problems. How this lack of public flamboyance and charisma would have translated to his work as POTUS and dealing with hostile leaders abroad — we will never know.

TastyBits July 31, 2014 at 4:46 pm

@jan

President Obama is a man of the times. He is what was wanted and needed. You and I may not like it, but that is the reality. In my world, you would pray for a world where Obama was president.

He is the culmination of a mindset and an ideology, and it is failing spectacularly. This last point will be vehemently disputed, but I have time. The disputers do not.

Today, the US is a narcissistic country. People believe that the world revolves around the US, and they believe that the world began about 1995. Human history spans 10,000 years depending upon how you date it, and not much has changed.

There is nothing that cannot be fixed, or if it cannot be fixed, it should always have been that way. If President Obama is all that it takes to destroy the US, it should be destroyed.

All of Mitt Romney’s accomplishments may have impressed the Europeans, but I doubt the Mullahs, Assad, Putin, etc. would be impressed with a 70% turnaround capacity. If you want somebody who is going to “kick ass and take names”, Mitt Romney ain’t your guy.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: