There Will Be Change

     The November 4th election will produce unprecedented change in the country’s leadership no matter who wins. We’ll either have a black man in the White House or a woman as vice president. Either outcome will be bring new perspectives to Washington, and new perspectives are the foundation of change.


     On the Democratic side, Barack Obama said in his acceptance speech that “Change doesn’t come from Washington, it comes to Washington.” He’s right, of course, but that makes his choice of Joe Biden as VP a bit peculiar. With 36 years in Washington, Biden is a consummate insider. Detractors call Biden “Obama’s Dick Cheney” and refer to Obama-Biden as the “upside-down ticket” since Biden as VP has much more experience than Obama as President. Supporters say that Biden is a perfect VP choice for Obama because he knows the ins-and-outs of Washington and can translate Obama’s vision for change into reality in Congress. That claim has merit.


     The big surprise, of course, was McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin, Alaska’s first-term governor, to be his VP. My first reaction was: “She adds nothing other than being a woman to attract the Hilary vote.” For sure she’s not an insider, even in Alaska’s Republican Party. Time will tell if McCain’s choice was brilliant or desperate. As her personal story unfolded, many Republican candidates are begging Palin to campaign for them because she is “real people” with a special needs child, a son who is going to Iraq, and a pregnant and unmarried 17-year old daughter. She also brings first-hand knowledge on environmental and energy issues as a supporter of drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge.


     Both parties still have a lot to prove, but the VP nominees increase the possibility of change. We’ve been using a quasi-analytical model called the Change Quotient (CQ) to rate the candidates from zero to 100 relative to their ability to effect change. The three major factors of the CQ are ideas, relationships, and execution; and each factor has three sub-factors. For example, the sub-factors of relationships are: (1) connecting with the public, (2) embracing diverse views, and (3) collaboration. At this point in the campaign, the CQ ratings are:

Change Quotient Ratings

                       Jul   Aug   Sep

Obama        75    76     78

McCain        73    72     76

Both CQ ratings are inching up, but they’re not in the Johnson-Reagan range who scored 90 and 91, respectively.


     Biden increased Obama’s execution rating by adding a track record of getting things done. On the other side, Palin adds a humanness that’s unusual for a Republican candidate. She increased McCain’s ratings in the connecting, diversity, and collaboration sub-factors that are important for change. Exactly two months are left in the campaign and ratings will change. But which way will they go? I look forward to the debates where the candidates’ programs and credentials will become clear (or not). Hopefully, at least one of them will offer an economic program that could work and would be supported in Congress. If you would like to register your viewpoints on these questions, log onto the blog at


  1. Dick, I would like to make a comment concerning CHANGE. I’ve come to believe over the years that two of the most common and more powerful reasons for change are faith and fear. Perhaps in your next newsletter you could expand on how these two factors have help you to change.

  2. Change is inevitable. In the Defense Industry it coming with a rush. There is no need for 1/2 Trillion avionics package for the F22 and F35.

    I have developed a software framework that enables the production of avionics software for less than 1/5 the cost if done the old manual way.
    Even so, my software framework, called Navastir, could be significantly improved.

    Milton K Benjamin Sci.D.

    This concepts required to create this technology is available on the web-all 10 million sites. And, the “bad guys” also have access to it.

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