Competence as #1 political value

One thing I learned now that I have more friends working in the federal government is that there’s a lot of good the government can do when it’s working. It’s not all death panels — not by a long shot.

We obsess over a president’s political platform, but it’s also a big deal how well they execute their jobs.

It is the executive branch after all.

Aside: if people are so sure things are directionally broken, why isn’t the Republican congress taking more heat. Change the laws!

Back to the president. I think it matters if the president and the president’s team is good at the nuts and bolts of their job.

In fact, I think that’s the number one benefit of having an extremely long and expensive election cycle. We get to see the two (or four) potential executives try out for the job by building and running a large organization.

It’s probably hugely wasteful — but it’s also pretty informative.

This ends the non-partisan part of my post.

Because I am partisan, I’ve been noticing supporting elements of the above theory that match my existing world view. Again, if you don’t have my politics, you should probably just take the first half of this post and move on.

The things that drive me nuts about the Trump campaign execution is the sloppiness.

  • Melania plagiarizing a speech from a rival party. Both sides of that mistake are sloppy. Why is she even reviewing speeches from the other side?
  • The Trump website going down during the first debate.
  • The awful photoshop job on the Trump cover image. Why does Pence have a giant unnecessary shadow on his left cheek? A photoshop expert needs to do an essay on how bad this graphic is.
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  • One of the Trump sons forgetting which state Pence is from.
  • Running with the Miss Universe story. Sometimes these turn out to be genius misdirections. But this turned out to be more of a “candidate got distracted from key message”

So I was somewhat mollified in the second debate when Trump picked a strategy and basically stuck to it. It was a crazy strategy: interrupt and stalk. But he stuck to it with discipline. That’s a huge improvement over the first debate.

On the Clinton side, there’s tons to love.

  • She was ultra prepared for all three debates. My favorite was that she had prepped an out for the “war on cops” trap. That was an edge case question and she was ready. People are noting that she made it through all three debates without making a single mistake.
  • My other favorite from the first debate was that she physically never got angry. She knows this doesn’t play well so she didn’t do it. That’s 90 minutes of physical discipline.
  • Love the idea that Kaine played the VP debate solely for the post-debate advertisements. He set Pence up for a series of “he never said that’s” which then turned into a “yes he did” ad a day later.
  • Speaking of the VP debate, the Hillary account was tweeting coordinated pre-packaged information live with the debate.
  • The Hillary campaign has managed their money for a strong finish — ads, leaks, ground campaign. Meanwhile, if you go to the address for your local Trump HQ you might find that it has been torn down.

All of this might make you ask, “Why isn’t Hillary creaming Trump?”

The answer is twofold.

One, she is.

Two, she’s digging herself out of a 25 year hole of coordinated negative press and accusations. The press coverage of her is actually kind of amazingly sloppy and biased. It’s a testament to her that she’s alive at all in this race.

Clearly, competence doesn’t solve all problems. And there is plenty of value to extract from the world through hubris. But, for my politics, I’m a big fan of competence.

Written by

Human potential busy body. Founded @coachdotme, @bttrHumans, @bttrMarketing. Helped @medium @calm. Current work focus: Habit Coach Certification.

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