Conservative Republican Males for Hillary '08
Since I like to "geek out" on office politics, one of my "governmentally" political friends asked me the other day whom I was favoring in the 2008 Presidential race. Since he knew I'd been a registered Republican since I started voting (never mind what year that was), I think he was more than a little shocked when I told him that, if I had to vote right now ... today ... that in my opinion, the "best man" for the job was Hillary Clinton.
I guess I should explain here. Let's put all pet projects and political platforms aside. After all, the president (more or less) is still at the mercy of the whims of a very fickle Congress. So, that being thrown out, the issue of party is no longer as relevant for me. In this sea of mediocre candidates, we're looking at a bunch of people who basically think Bush stinks. I'll admit, I've been less than enthralled by some of the antics of the Bush administration. Granted, he was better than the alternatives in either 2000 or 2004, but still... there are a lot of things leaving many of us scratching our collective heads. OK, so none of the candidates like W. No big differentiators there. And it's really not a great platform... "I'm better than the last guy."
Since I'm a business consultant, let's approach this using basic business principles. The mood in America right now is hungering for something different. And the current business benchmark for "different" would be Seth Godin's Purple Cow premise (those that stick out from the crowd are more likely to be noticed). As a nation, we've always been run by older-middle-aged white males. If we are to seek the "purple cow" in this election, that leaves two candidates: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Sorry to say it, but Barack is too purple (and I'm not talking race, either). Candidates with unusual names do not get elected (yes, Tancredo, that includes you, too.) In our minds, we already know what "President Clinton" sounds like; it's a title-name combo we can get our brains around. Also, she "looks" more presidential than many of the other candidates. So, from a marketing standpoint, Clinton wins.
Now, let's take it from an HR standpoint. The only person in this entire sea of candidates who has any experience in the White House is... um... Hillary. She's been there. She's lived it. Granted her role was "First Lady" but you can bet that she knew what was going on. Amazingly enough, she still wants the job. Everyone else is a governor or a senator or ... well... miscellaneous. If I were to hire a CEO, I'd want somebody who's been in the corner office before - on the same scale of company as mine. Sure, the Clintons have skeletons, but none of them are in the closet anymore. They're all out on display. Bill is a philandering, skirt-chasing lug. And... people who cross the Clintons wind up in jail or the morgue (sorry for the reminder, Webster). These are known flaws. But the fact remains: they're KNOWN. Yeah, Mitt Romney has nice hair... but what is he hiding?
Office politics are pretty much the same thing. You can try to read the people around you, analyze them, discuss them, pontificate about them. But in the end, it's a crap shoot and you hope you can trust the person you pick for your team. After all... there are some really good actors out there (but we're not talking about Fred Thompson). There are more than twelve months before I have to cast my ballot. A lot can happen between now and then. But since I was asked...
(Oh, and the scary thing is... I'm not the only Republican who's thinking this way.)