So, seriously, do the Dems want to lose the election?

So, seriously, do the Dems want to lose the election?

Summary: I've always been amazed at the Democratic party's ability, when life gives them lemonade, to somehow turn it back into lemons.

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TOPICS: CXO
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I've always been amazed at the Democratic party's ability, when life gives them lemonade, to somehow turn it back into lemons. This has nothing to do with issues and whether I support them or not. I support some Democratic party issues and I support some Republican party issues. Mostly, I'm annoyed by both.

No, this has to do with the incredible ability of the Democratic party to shoot itself in the foot strategically.

Today's example is one Jeffrey Zients, President Obama's nominee for the next director of the Office of Management and Budget. Mr. Zients was previously employed by Bain & Company from August 1988 to June 1990.

You've heard of Bain & Company, haven't you? It's all over the news, because Mitt Romney worked there, and its offshoot, Romney's Bain Capital, has been the target of attack by every other GOP candidate in the primaries.

Let's take a moment to get some perspective. I'm sure Mr. Zients is fully qualified for his job and will make a fine OMB head. Bain & Company is filled with bright, capable people. I've worked with Bain people in the past, learned from them way back in the day, and most of them have impressed me with their overall level of clue.

One thing Bain & Company knows about is competitive strategy and one element of competitive strategy is to find both real and perceived weaknesses in your competitors. If Mitt Romney gets the nomination, his affiliation with Bain Capital will be a weakness. Quite frankly, having watched companies grow and fail over the years, I don't think Bain Capital did anything wrong. That said, America is really quite pissed off at bankers and the story the rival Super PACs are weaving about Romney and Bain is not good.

This not-good story could have been taken advantage of by the Democrats. It would have been a little sleazy, but they're politicians. Sleaze is what they're supposed to do.

But now, they've gone ahead and hired a Bain alum to be their OMB head (and that's right after hiring a former hedge-fund exec who made money off of mortgage defaults to be Chief of Staff). Now, with this former Bain hire on their team, there's no way the Obama campaign can attack Mitt Romney without getting some blast-back. They've effectively defanged one of their most powerful attack vectors.

This strategic foot-shooting practice is what baffles me about the Democrats. Mr. Zients might well deserve the job, but this is an election year. Why would you shoot yourself in the foot and give your opponent such an easy way to deflect one of your most powerful possible attacks?

I just don't get it.

Topic: CXO

About

David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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19 comments
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  • RE: So, seriously, do the Dems want to lose the election?

    Politics is so messed up.

    Maybe both parties should sit out this year's election and we can watch a bunch of independent parties take a shot at the election.

    Well, I can dream . . .

    . . . in the meantime, I'm gonna need more popcorn.
    CobraA1
  • Well...

    Waving watched this administration closely over the years I'm left sometimes with the feeling that they don't think they'll need to run for another term and that the current term is not necessarily limited to 4 years.<br><br>Over the top? Yeah. But it's not like there is no historical precedent.
    People
    • RE: So, seriously, do the Dems want to lose the election?

      @People Obama'spolicies are being ruined by those evil Repukes. I think we should all send a message to Washington. Get rid of the Repuke party. I would like nothing more than to see the Democrats takeover 100%, then we'll see real reform. We could get rid of all non Union labor, as the Unions are the ones that know best. I believe the Democrats know what is best for the US, and will vote for them no matter what the "issues" are.
      Stephen-B
      • You do realize that from

        January 2009 to January 2011, Democrats had 100% control, right?
        baggins_z
      • So you're in favor of a one party state?

        @Stephen-B <br>A lot of our Conservative friends seem to be, but we don't usually get that line from the other side (not recently, anyway).<br><br>The harder party lines become, the more corruption fluorishes, for the simple reason that people stop looking at alternatives (so crooks are elected just because they sport the right party label and pull the right strings).<br><br>Reply to Stephen-B:<br><br>You sound an awful lot like another pro-MS Democrat who posts on ZDNet (tonymcs). Any relation? Another possibility, of course, is that you're trying to do for the Democrats what Mike Cox does for MS, in which case, you need to work on your delivery and maybe develop a close working relationship with your precinct captain. Mike's been great at moderating some of the more cartoonish pro-MS rhetoric, so perhaps our major parties could use such supporters as well.<br><br>"Righteous ways" does suggest some irony.
        John L. Ries
      • RE: So, seriously, do the Dems want to lose the election?

        @John yes I am. If we get rid of the Repukes, and term limits. Then real change can take place. Imagine Obama being in the White House for the next 20 years, and the Wise Democrats controlling our fate. They could serioudsly go after those companies that offend the righteous ways of Microsoft, and the Unions. We could finally have our Utopian World.No Imported cars, only cars made by Union workers!, Companies like Crapple could successfully be sued out of exisrance, and Linsux could finally be declared as unAmerican, and prohibited for use within the US borders Then Google could also be destroyed once and for all. Think how wonderful the world would be with only Microsoft goodness and no Crapple, or Linsux...
        Stephen-B
      • Suggestion for good political satire

        @Stephen-B <br>Heaven knows we have enough bad political satire...<br><br>If you're really going to parody the opposition, you need to listen to them first, which means you're going to have to go outside of your comfort zone if the only political commentary you ever see or listen to is what's produced by people you expect to agree with. So if you want to parody Democrats and liberals, you should probably get a subscription to the New Republic or Mother Jones and hang out at the Daily Kos or Huffington Post and see what they're actually saying. Then you can twist it a little and show how ridiculous it is. Likewise, if you want to pick on Republicans and conservatives, then spend some time listening to talk radio (as much as it may pain you) and reading conservative commentary (on the Internet and in print). Then, once you know what they're actually saying, then you can pick it apart (you might even get some chuckles out of the people you're targeting). Using your own side's stereotypes of the opposition (most of them strawmen) doesn't work at all and never has (witness a completely unfunny comic strip written by someone named Bruce).
        John L. Ries
  • RE: So, seriously, do the Dems want to lose the election?

    While there is some shared history, Bain and Co. Is completely separate from Bain Capital. Bain and Co.
    hoaxoner
    • RE: So, seriously, do the Dems want to lose the election?

      @hoaxoner

      You are correct. Bain & Co. is NOT Bain Capital...but being that 99.9% of voters in this country are brain dead...look what we've gotten in the past 40 years for presidents...most, if not all, will not understand that fact.
      IT_Fella
      • RE: So, seriously, do the Dems want to lose the election?

        @IT_Fella <br>Well, it would take some journalists and bloggers to dictate the difference and not delve up similarities that don't exist. That way, when people make the similarities known, people already realize that truth: Bain Capital was a way, used by Romney et al., to use Bain's brand capital to enrich themselves.
        hoaxoner
  • RE: So, seriously, do the Dems want to lose the election?

    So you think this is the only problem the Democrats have? This is small potatoes compared to a failed recovery, buyouts and loans in favorable terms to cronies, etc. This is like saying Obama and Romney have the same barber!
    dstarke1
  • RE: So, seriously, do the Dems want to lose the election?

    The truth matters very little in politics... what matters is what you can get the voters to believe.
    doh123
  • RE: So, seriously, do the Dems want to lose the election?

    Our savior is safe. I will always vote for the best things. Democrats, Microsoft products, the Local sports teams (even though I hate sports), etc. I makes you look wise when you back the best products.
    Stephen-B
  • Bain Capital isn't what the election will be fought on...

    ...and shouldn't be. The primary issues should be economic policy (health care, banking, budget, etc), foreign policy (as usual), and immigration.<br><br>We see too much scandalmongering as it is.
    John L. Ries
  • The only reason

    Americans are pissed off at bankers is because of the Democrat propaganda machine known as the press.
    baggins_z
  • RE: So, seriously, do the Dems want to lose the election?

    Obama and the Democrats have already shot themselves in the foot. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama's advisers inlcuded Clintonites that helped to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act and put financial derivatives beyond regulation. And some of these same people formally served as Obama's advisors after he was elected President. In addition, Obama collected more money from the financial industry for his presidential campaign than any candidate before him.<br><br>Then there was Obama voting for TARP as the junior senator from Illinois. Followed by signing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act into law that was significantly weakened by the financial industry to the point of being a laughing stock.<br><br>Finally, on Obama's watch as President, $13 trillion U.S. were transferred to the monster banks on Wall Street (as well as some banks in Europe). Meaning that the Obama administration preferred to use the Japanese model (that didn't work in Japan btw) for dealing with the U.S. banks instead of the Swedish model.<br><br>Both major political parties, Democratic and Republican, are owned by Wall Street.<br><br>Can we *PLEASE* have a good 3rd party candidate for President this year?!
    Rabid Howler Monkey
  • RE: So, seriously, do the Dems want to lose the election?

    Bane issues are dead anyway. Newt killed the issue when he let his super-pac make up a video targeting Romney and failed so superbly to fact check. People don't care about scandal, only recent scandal. Hence Newt not being targeted as a womanizing chauvinist that trades up wives every few years. At this point, any Dem attack on Bane would be fruitless because Newt dropped the ball bringing it out early.
    Socratesfoot
  • RE: So, seriously, do the Dems want to lose the election?

    So is it possible they're smarter than you give them credit for? What sort of complaints are the Publicans going to make about this guy -- NONE since he is one of them. The bulk of Democrats don't care about OMB since it is not a major (with a capital M) policy organization.

    I think it's pretty smart politics.

    ...woodbutt
    jlg@...
  • What this country needs is more...

    ... unemployed politicians. (Some famous quote by Reagan I think). That would solve a lot of things.
    GuntherGump