As the tide has turned in this election I began thinking about a Romney administration.
We have never had a great businessman as president. In fact we have never had a businessman as president.
I want to deal with both the words great and businessman.
There is a stunning difference between the milieu of business and politics. I have written several books on business and have been a consultant to nearly 2000 businesses of every size on many continents. I have also been heavily involved in politics as president of the Young Republicans, legislative analyst, campaign manager on half a dozen campaigns, advance man on others and an unregistered lobbyist in D.C
Business is focused on reducing costs, expanding markets, finding technological solutions and most importantly solving problems. There are three key elements in successful business. One is honesty. The second is meritocracy, always using the most competent people one can find. Three is using the market and competition to solve problems.
Politics is almost exactly the opposite. In politics one gains power by increasing the number of employees and departments. Politics has one single goal: to reconcile conflicting power centers if possible. To reconcile them for as long as possible. Honesty among brokers is valuable but not necessary. Meritocracy never trumps party loyalty. Political conflicts are solved only by compromise.
On the face of it Gov. Romney does not have the tools to make the transition between business and government.
Except, first and most importantly he has already proven to be capable of making the transition as governor and a good governor, of Massachusetts.
Second, he was not a traditional businessman. He was an insider in the consulting business as I will explain in a coming blog and in building his Bain Capital. He used inside consulting experts to make businesses more successful. That is a type of business experience more suitable for transfer to government than a traditional leader on top of a bureaucracy in an old established business.
Most importantly, he was clearly a brilliant man, capable of harnessing other brilliant business people and he was at the leading edge of a new industry.
He will be uniquely, one of the finest presidents since Lincoln.