Over at Bloomberg Businessweek, Joshua Green insists that the chaos in Mitt Romney’s campaign does NOT mean that he’s a bad CEO:
Romney’s problem is not that he’s brought too little executive rigor to the job of running for president. It’s that he’s brought too much. He’s behaved too much like a businessman (or a consultant) and not enough like a politician. His campaign has all the hallmarks of being run by someone looking only at the numbers, someone who lacks a true politician’s appreciation for the other dimensions of a race—a feel for the electorate, a convincing long-term plan for the country. Were he forced to defend himself before a board of directors, Romney would actually have a pretty solid case for doing what he has done….
… Romney has scrupulously avoided committing to anything that is remotely unpopular, such as naming which tax loopholes he’d close to pay for his agenda. That is to say, he is doing just about everything a close reading of the polls says you should do, and he’s trying hard not to do anything the polls say you shouldn’t do. If a team of Bain consultants were hustled in to pore over the data and devise a strategy, I doubt they would have devised a meaningfully different campaign.
The problem is that politics is about much more than a tactical, short-term reading of the numbers. Candidate skills matter, and the audience in a presidential election is much more variegated than a board of directors. There isn’t much, frankly, that a stiff guy can do to make himself warm and approachable. (Earth tones, anyone?) The glaring weaknesses in Romney’s campaign—the fuzzy details, the inability to convincingly articulate plan for growth, and above all the weird tics and gaffes—are not ones that a businessman’s skills can rectify.
In other words, he’s more a bad politician than a bad CEO. We are left to conclude what we like about what sort of president he would be.
Something to consider, for all those who still think the silly phrase “run government like a business” makes sense.