Friday, October 5, 2012

Deconstruction Of A Meme

Obama said one thing during the October 3, 2012 debate that many liberal pundits have seemed to latch onto between their fits of excuses and finger-pointing over Obama's debate loss. Obama stated that Romney doesn't have a plan, just an idea because he has not published anything in detail.

What it actually demonstrates is that Romney is willing to do a few things that Obama cannot even seem to comprehend the concepts they involve.

1. Lead

A leader presents guidance. A leader is sensitive to the common goal of his followers, then provides a clear vision of that goal, that objective, that end-state. A leader also identifies the interim objectives necessary to reaching the eventual objective.  A leader accepts a mission, then issues smaller mission statements that fall in line with those interim objectives. In the case of an elected leader, that leader receives his mission from those he represents. In our republic, that means his superiors are the same as the led.

A good leader provides guidance that contains a task, purpose, and end-state. Romney has done just that.

2. Surround himself with actual experts and listen to them.

Romney, unlike Obama, does not think himself omniscient. Obama selected so-called experts such as Valerie Jarrett to fill positions they were grossly unqualified to fill. VJ may be an expert at something, but it is not the subjects her job title implies. Romney has a history of surrounding himself with competent people who are willing to tell him the hard truth and advise him accordingly. He would not have had his successes in the business world or in saving the SLC Olympics if he didn't.

A leader doesn't produce a final, detailed plan in a vacuum. They "staff" those plans. Staffs provide a group of experts and advisers from both academia and the practical world. They don't necessarily have all of the answers, but are adept at finding those answers and testing them before offering them as advice.

3. Listen to dissenting opinions and evidence before committing to a course of action

A good leader is one who will come up with a concept, then actually ask people to challenge it. Dissenting opinions provide a form of "wargaming" that helps rid any good plan of faults. Those who offer dissenting opinions to Obama are dismissed by him. However, Romney has already, while Governor, demonstrated the ability to listen to those dissenting opinions and formulate a plan, or compromise when necessary.


Romney issued a warning order that included his "commander's guidance". He did not hand an full OPORD to his staff and say "don't advise, don't plan, just execute". If you look at the five-point plan he suggested in the debate, it is obvious he has a sound concept. He has established his interim objectives:

1 - Put the USA on a path to energy independence.
2- Open trade on a global scale in order to increase the USA's market share and market value.
3- Increase opportunities for Americans to acquire skills and knowledge that will make our workers more competitive on the global scale, thereby increasing the value of our nation's human capital.
4- Balance the budget so our government isn't spending more than it is accruing in revenue. That is just smart. Any household that is spending more than it makes is, well, stupid. Same with any company. The same holds true for any country.
5- Champion small and mid-sized businesses to grow. If they have less restricted competition, then they have incentives to prosper and produce. In doing so, they will expand and hire more employees. More people receiving a paycheck means more taxable income. It also means more people having the earned income to spend on necessities and luxuries. That means more sales tax as well. Everybody wins.

The overall end-state is economic prosperity in our country. It is a much increased GDP. It is a higher standard of living. It is people at work and a larger workforce participation rate. It is a better and happier America.

The details of his plan may not be 100% set. They shouldn't be. Only a complete fool would do so.  A good leader sets what are called "decision points" that build flexibility for contingencies. Romney knows that he will not have all the necessary data to complete those plans until he gets in office. He is not a fool who is going to remain rigid to a plan even if it is doomed to failure, as Obama's evidently was.

I watched Romney in the primary. One of my criticisms of him, at that time, was that he didn't seem to have a set platform. Now, that is one of his greatest strengths. His platform is an amalgamation of those he competed against for the nomination. He adopted aspects of their better ideas and accepted some of them as advisers as well. He remained open to good suggestions. That's what a leader does.

So, it is not true that Romney lacks a detailed plan. What is true is that Romney has vision. He has a clear objective and desired end-state. He has many options to accomplish those objectives. Like a true leader, he is still open to suggestions, advice, criticism, and improvement.