Sunday, February 3, 2008

Leadership and Electability Indices

An interesting comparative between the four leading candidates in the Republican and Democratic Presidential races. John McCain claims to be the leader of our day, because he led a Naval Squadron of 400 men for patriotism, not profit. He further claims that Mitt Romney is just a manager and not a leader. Senator McCain does compliment Senator Clinton stating that she would be a "good" President of the US, a claim he is unwilling to make of any Republican candidates. Given the claims of John McCain, and the similar claims of his soul mate Hillary Clinton, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to compare the leadership qualities of each candidate. Bear in mind, the criteria reflects my opinions, with hoped for objectivity. As a foundational point, I believe that leadership qualifications demand experience, be it private, public or philanthropic, with a marginally greater emphasis on the private sector over the public sector. Additionally, there had to be a standard for comparative purposes. Given the breadth of Mitt Romney's experience in all sectors (private, public and philanthropic), he is identified as the standard to which all others are compared. Effectively, Mitt Romney's index is 248, Barack Obama is 150, Hillary Clinton is 82 and John McCain is at 50. The conclusion being that Romney and Obama have the greater leadership skills and experience, while Clinton and McCain are similar and less experienced in leadership and the skill sets attributable to leadership.

John McCain claims that he is more electable in the Republican Party and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton each make the same claim for the Democratic Party. Below is an interesting Electability Index wherein the greater delta between the candidates indicate stronger contrasts between each candidate. At the end of each spectrum, you have Mitt Romney as the conservative with an index of 273 and Barack Obama as the more liberal with an index of 2. John McCain would be more proximate to the liberal spectrum (moderate to liberal) with an index of 84 while Hillary Clinton is nearly competitive with Obama, having an index of 5. The point of electability wrests in the greater contrast between the conservative and liberal candidates. With Romney at 273 and Clinton and Obama at 5 and 2, respectively, Mitt Romney would draw a greater contrast and thus appeal to an electorate that is like minded. John McCain, with an index of 84 and nearer to the Clinton and Obama indices would not contrast as well, thus leaving an electorate to choose candidates that are like minded. In McCain's case, his campaign against Clinton and Obama would be less idealogical (given the similarity of positions) and based more upon personality. Against Obama, McCain would appear old, less energetic, less capable in debates and far less charismatic. A McCain - Clinton comparative would be difficult, again because of little contrast on ideology and more an election of similarity, leaving a flip of the coin to who might prevail. A Romney campaign against Clinton and Obama would be distinct and based upon primarily on ideology and capability.

When both indices are employed, leadership and electability, in head to head contests, Romney vs Clinton or Obama, and McCain vs Clinton or Obama, the contrasts are clear. Romney holds the leadership card with ideology and experience that significantly contrasts with Clinton and Obama. It has been said when you put a straight stick next to a crooked stick, the crooked stick seems more crooked. By these measures, Romney would beat Hillary Clinton in a head to head contest. A Romney - Obama contest would be more competitive, but based upon the indices it would appear that Romney carries the advantage, and again wins the day. Alternatively, considering both indices, a McCain - Clinton matchup would produce an uncertain victor (anybody's guess), but given the Clinton machine, a likely Clinton victory; while a McCain - Obama contest would clearly favor Obama. In fact, Obama would far outpace John McCain leaving a repeat of the Dole demise.

None of these points have taken into consideration the financial capabilities of the 4 remaining candidates. Three are competitive with each other in financial resources and John McCain is severely handicapped with significantly fewer financial resources than the other three.

Notwithstanding the assessment above, each can draw their own conclusions. However, it seems readily apparent that Mitt Romney has the greater leadership experience and skill sets, and holds more consistently to the conservative principles of the Republican Party. As has been written, the heart and soul of the Republican Party is threatened with McCain and assured with Romney. Likewise, the Republican Party has a strong opportunity to win the general election with a Romney nomination. As much as McCain can protest his position as the front runner and likely nominee, it is without substance and shallow in its foundation. Saying it doesn't make it so!

Disclosure: As a Romney supporter, I have tried to be objective in this assessment. If not, I apologize, and would suggest that you can discount the indices to satisfy the perceived bias. Even discounted, Romney stands much stronger than McCain, Clinton and Obama.

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