Blame the process…not the people

The republican’s are starting their feeding frenzy on John McCain.  What a bad person he is.  Conservative apostate.  Bad campaigner.  Yada, yada, yada…  What’s not admitted is that under different circumstances, he could have been the right candidate, and the winner.  If the 9/11 were 9/11/08 instead of 9/11/01, the country would have been much less inclined to elect a fluffy bunny candidate.  The tough, cantankerous warrior would have carried the day.  The question that should be asked is what in the primary process brought him to the pole position.

W. Edward Deming (1900-1993) was the father of statistical process control and significantly contributed to the development of the Japanese industrial sector after its near total destruction after WW II.  He continued to push the idea of statistical process control to the end of his life.  I saw a video of him giving a seminar while he was in his 90’s.  What a crotchety old geezer (which I say with all due respect.  I like crotchety geezers.  I’m in training to be one myself.)  He created a role play game with people from the audience where he created a psuedo-manufacturing environment.  Participants were assigned to manufacturing, quality control and management positions.  As the manufacturing scenario was run, statistics were kept on the ‘quality’ of the output.  If a production person had daily results that were ‘high quality’ they were rewarded.  If their ‘quality’ slipped, they were held up for ridicule, put through re-education and if their ‘quality’ didn’t improve, they were fired.  If the ‘quality’ was consistent for a period, the managers were given bonuses.  All of this was being done around a process transparently clear to everyone to be totally random.  It involved sorting marbles of different colors by drawing random samples out of a bin.  The point was to highlight the human nature to blame people first when the process is the problem.  Just ask the Roman Emporer Titus, who was blamed for the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

The problem with the Republican presidential election was not John McCain, an admirable person of great character (most of the time).  The problem is the process that selected him.

What perversion of political machinations made two of the most inconsequential states the kickoff points for the primaries?  Who decided that a caucus was representative of anything?

So here are my suggestions, in no particular order, for improving the process:

  1. Get rid of the caucuses.  Obama proved conclusively that the only thing they do is promote the political manipulators.  They represent the handful of people who bother to show up on a given night.  If you’re going to go through the trouble of throwing a primary season, then throw primaries and let people vote.  Isn’t that supposed to be what we are about?
  2. Ignore all the primaries held before Super Tuesday.  A number of successful nomination runs have risen from ashes by achieving surprise victories early in the primaries in these inconsequential states.  And while surprises are nice at Christmas, we have not always been served well by them.  If the Republicans had boycotted primaries/caucuses prior to Super Tuesday, the Republican candidate would have very likely been Rudy Giuliani**.  Instead, Rudy tried to do the correct thing (ignore the small delegate counts) without fixing the flawed process and was effectively eliminated before he started.  The boycott has to be a real boycott, not just ignoring the delegate counts.  Because it’s not the delegate counts that matter.  It’s the idiotic hyperventilating media frenzy that gets attached to the early leader.  That means that anyone who puts their name into a race prior to Super Tuesday will be banned from the nomination by the Republican Party.  Period.
  3. Push for a national primary.  Primary day first Tuesday in August…conventions at the end of August, national elections in November.  It would increase pull for people who already have national credentials and tend to impair the rise of celebrities.  It will produce more solid candidates, even if a bit less interesting.

**  Yeah, yeah.  Gulliani wasn’t <Homer Simpon sarcastic voice>consERvative enough<>.  But Giuliani would have made Obambi wear Rev. Wright like a backpack.  Which would have been satisfying in itself even if Rudy lost.

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