Sunday, February 2, 2020

On Pete Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg is, basically, a great example of chutzpah, trying to vault ahead of the pack with one great step. He must figure, nothing ventured, nothing gained. But accommodating to his audacity of hope by nominating him would be a vast mistake.

Let me explain.

Pete Buttigieg is an eloquent, fast-thinking, intelligent and stately young man. Some have said that he's an old person's idea of a young man, but let's just say he seems to have a wonderful temperament. He is well educated, Harvard and Oxford, has management advisory experience from working at corporate consultant firm McKinsey, has military experience at a low level in a combat venue, and has been a mayor without spectacular achievement and with some notable weaknesses, of a small city. Nice resumé for a promising young man.

But is it enough? My analogy: “I just met a really nice guy! He really seems to understand surgery, from what he says. I was so impressed! He has worked in many different settings, progressing from an aide to a medic to a physician's assistant. He is critical of many of the surgeons he has seen work. I'm thinking of asking him to do my hip replacement.”

Picture this instead: his name is placed before a corporate board. He is interviewed and his work history is reviewed. Discussion ensues; everyone has been impressed. His chief advocate to the board says, “This guy is so terrific, I think he should be our CEO!” The board members look at each other; one smiles, another smiles, and the board then erupts in laughter, understanding that it must be a joke. The laughter dies down, no one knows what to say, and then they turn expectantly to the most respected senior member of the board. She says, “Yes, you're right, he's a wonderful find for us, and the mark of a superior organization is to be able to identify quality, attract quality, nurture quality, promote quality, and utilize quality. Let's not miss our chance with this wonderful candidate. Let's jump over a couple initial steps. What division could we offer him to be the head of? Let's make sure he's on track! Let's see if he can fulfill his promise.”

He'd make a wonderful cabinet officer, wouldn't he?

Budd Shenkin

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