Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Trend-Lines!


Let's say there's a really shit-lousy NFL team out there. They went 3 and 13 last season. The new owner hires a new General Manager, who fires the coach and brings in a whole new staff. The first season under these new coaches produced better results, but the club only went 7-9. The following year was much better, and they went 10-6, but just missed the playoffs. Two years after that, the club went 9-7 and 9-7 respectively. The team is good, and potentially primed for greatness, but has stalled, and the coach's contract is expiring.

If you're the GM, do you fire the head coach, or give him a contract extension?

Likewise, let's say a company's Board of Directors names a new CEO. The company has been in dire straits lately, but the new CEO knows how to get things done. In spite of vicious opposition from other corporate executives, he manages to bring the company up from the verge of bankruptcy into solvency. But the company is still highly leveraged (meaning it still has a lot of debt) and profit margins, while consistent, are not as high as everyone would like.

If you're on the Board of Directors, do you fire the CEO and name someone else, or let him stay on for a while longer?

Or how about this one? A new principal is named to a failing inner-city school. He gets rid of a lot of bad teachers, the school board is really upset with him. But in spite of the opposition, in only two years, he manages to drastically cut the drop-out rate, brings test scores up dramatically, and sends more kids off to college than the school has in 50 years. But test scores still lag behind the national average.

If you're on the School Board, do you keep this principal on? Or do you fire him for someone even better?

In each of these three scenarios, I'm sure you'd probably keep the coach/CEO/principal for another term rather than take a chance with someone else. After all, you've got a good thing going, even though it's not quite as good as you would have hoped. Besides, the initial turnaround was dramatic enough to believe that even better things are coming, if only the person in charge gets a little more time.

Obviously, I'm drawing parallels with the current presidential election.

Trend-lines! That's what makes this election important. Sure, if you look at the economic numbers, they aren't significantly better than the ones four years ago (although they are better). The important difference is that back then, the trend line was DOWN. In fact, it was STRAIGHT down! And today, THE TREND LINE IS UP! Maybe not as highly inclined as we would hope, but it has been UP, and has consistently been so for 2 and a half straight years!

In the words of Crash Davis in the movie Bull Durham, "Never fuck with a winning streak."

I suppose you might think that replacing your lead guy is okay if the replacement is good. Let's say, replacing your head coach with a Mike Holmgren or a Joe Torre type. But is Mitt Romney that type of guy? Well, he's led a company, but that's a far cry from leading a government. He's led a state as a governor, but just look at the polling numbers in Massachusetts! Clearly, the citizens who knew him during those years think that Obama is way better, and they would know! Also, the only way we have to evaluate Mitt's business experience is through his tax returns. Ah, but he won't let us see those!

That's like getting one applicant for the new head coach or CEO position, but he has no references, and he tells you not call his former employer!

All that would be true if the guy weren't trashed by his own political party for two solid years before that party watched in horror as he became the nominee. (Then they had to all eat crow and pretend that he was the best thing since sliced bread. Romnesia is contagious!) All that would be true even if he weren't a Mormon missionary in disguise. All that would be true if he didn't have a solid track-record of going back on his word time and time again. And if Mitt were still somehow shed of all these negatives, he would still be Wally Cleaver with a Stepford wife who wants us all to get into his DeLorean and travel back to 1955.

It would be like replacing Bill Parcels with Jerry Glanville!

Time to vote! Make yours a good one!


Eric

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