November 03, 2005

Who is more Expendable: Bush or his Brain?

One of the more interesting dilemmas for the Republican party is who they will back in the upcoming lifeboat exercise. In management speak, the lifeboat exercise is done to rank the most important contributors in an organization to the least by figuring out who at the bottom of your list you can lose and still carry on. This exercise is done whenever an organization faces a resource action (aka: a layoff or a major reorganization needed to accommodate the new competitive pressures) carried out so that the organization keeps the right people onboard and can survive to go forward.

So consider the problem the Republicans have.

On one side you have Karl Rove, the architect (along with Lee Atwater, Ralph Reed, Tom DeLay, Grover Norquist, and John Abramoff) of the winning Republican strategy. This is the guy who knows every weak point in the competition, every win and loss and what would have changed those losses into wins, every precinct trend, every character flaw in another human that can be exploited and how exactly to slice the electorate to create a winning coalition. This guy really knows his stuff.

And then there is Boy George who is the current occupant of the White House. Is there a more open secret than that George W Bush did not become President because he was a remarkably adept politician? Indeed, Bush was chosen for his role by that other guy: Karl Rove:

George W. Bush became a presidential candidate long before he even knew it.

Karl Rove, son of a Rocky Mountain geologist, peripatetic collegian, saw in Bush the raw materials to create a winning candidate. Rove, who was the first person hired by the elder Bush's presidential campaign, had been involved with the family's political endeavors for close to three decades. Intimately familiar with W's strengths and handicaps, Rove readied himself for the moment of convergence between his own ambition of running a winning presidential campaign and the political aspirations of the Bush family and its eldest son. When the battle was finally joined, Rove, more than his candidate, altered the American political process in a manner that will profoundly affect all future presidential elections.

..."The thing that is unique, that's really different that I don't know of a parallel for, is Rove is more of a mentor to Bush. He is the one who has helped Bush to develop into the leading political professional in the United States."

So you have the puppet (Bush) and the puppet master (Rove). Who would you keep if it was your organization? The guy who created the successful strategy that made you a winner? Or the suit who gets up in front of the analysts and parrots the words you provide?

And what happens if you were required to keep the suit even though the other guy was much more important and qualified and you know that you are losing the talent you need to make your numbers for the next year?

In the real world, if you had to perform the lifeboat exercise, the one person you'd keep is the brain, because finding a good suit is much easier than finding a good strategist. So it's quite an irony that the Repubs find themselves having to make the wrong tradeoff at this juncture.

Posted by Mary at November 3, 2005 12:46 AM | US Politics | Technorati links |