Posted by: dstieglitz | June 20, 2008

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 4th

       In one of the biggest political upsets ever, Hillary Clinton, supposedly an unbeatable candidate, lost the Democratic primary when change trumped experience. Change is still the over-arching issue of the election: what changes do we want in the economy, in taxes, in Iraq and Afghanistan, in health care, in education, in immigration?  On Tuesday, November 4th we get to choose the changes we want, and who they want to make them.

 

       But which candidate would more effective at pushing change through the Washington bureaucracy?

Being an engineer by training and inclination, I developed a quasi-mathematical approach to answer that question. I call it the Change Quotient (CQ). In my experience, the most effective Presidents in accomplishing change where President Johnson, an insider with over 20 years in Congress, and President Reagan as an outsider with little Federal experience before his election. Therefore, neither an insider nor outsider has an edge in achieving change. Rather the traits those two Presidents shared were: (1) realistic ideas, (2) relationship building skills, and (3) an unwavering commitment to execute.  Those are the three categories of the CQ, and each category has three sub-factors.  For example, the sub-factors of realistic ideas are: (1) creativity (something new), (2) accommodating other views, and (3) and sustainable.

 

       The CQ rates each candidate from zero to 100 relative to their ability to make change happen. At this point in the campaign, the results are Barack Obama 75 and John McCain 73. Scores in the mid-70s are marginal relative to actually accomplishing change.  By comparison, President Reagan rates 91 and President Johnson rates 90 on the same scale. Obama rated high in relationship-building, and low in demonstrated ability to execute. Conversely, McCain rated higher than Obama in execution, but lower in relationship-building. They rate equal on ideas, at this point. The ratings may change during the campaign as the candidates’ programs are clarified (or not) and they build consensus (or not).

 

       I want to be optimistic, but in my opinion there’s been a lot of talk about change and very little new thinking or approaches. Both candidates are running boring attack-the-opposition campaigns without fully explaining their own programs. Obama is offering the standard liberal program of the Democrats for the economy, taxes, and energy; and McCain is promising virtually the same Republican platform as we’ve seen for years.  But if one of them were to pick a Vice President from the other party and truly embrace a bi-partisan platform – that would be a change! Is either party enough committed to change to do that?  We’ll see.

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Responses

  1. […] Suzie wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptIn one of the biggest political upsets ever, Hillary Clinton, supposedly an unbeatable candidate, lost the Democratic primary when change trumped experience. Change is still the over-arching issue of the election: what changes do we … […]


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