Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Mitt’s Ready Fire Aim Campaign

When an entrepreneur is looking for investors he or she is meant to present a business plan outlining a vision and a feasible plan for attaining that vision. It’s taught in business schools that 95% of such plans are turned away immediately, not even given a pitch. One of the most frequent pitfalls of such business plans are highfalutin goals, devoid of a realistic and actionable path for attaining them. Nearly all prospective entrepreneurs envision a halcyon future for themselves and their investors. Nevertheless, nearly all entrepreneurs fail. He who has a detailed path for attaining a realistic goal is like four-leaf clover for investors.

Romney, more than most, ought to be familiar this. After all, he made most of his fortune in this line of work. Bain Capital is one of the country’s most successful VC/PE firms. Its success rate has been reported to be as high as 73%. That kind of success hardly comes from betting on sugarplum ideas without substantive cores.

Despite the rigor that Romney likely put into his investments at Bain, his campaign strategy has been to outline an attractive vision and ask us to trust him. I checked out the definition of a “plan” on investopedia and got: “a written document that describes in detail how a new business is going to achieve its goals.” Romney certain has the goals bit, but he seems to have neglected the “how.”

Today each of us has a single vote. We cast our scarce resource based on who we think is the best investment for the country. Who will take the power we give them and make our country better than it is today?

Romney has an idyllic vision of what America will be after he is elected. After all, he claimed that the business cycle will turn around just because he is elected. We’re made to believe that investors world-wide will have so much confidence in Mittens’ ability to lead that they will pour money into the US economy.

Romney has made a freshman omission. He’s got a great vision—one that is shared almost unanimously by all Americans. But he has not detailed his path to reaching that utopia. He promised to help us and our families, but never told us how he would do this. He’s cutting revenue by 5 trillion dollars, but has failed to inform us how he will make up for it. Instead, Romney is claiming that he will make up the lost revenue by closing loopholes. Those loopholes, on the day of the election, still remain unidentified. No matter, they will undoubtedly magically appear and be swiftly cut after his presidency is fait accompli.

Sitting here speaking to my nine year old cousin, it is clear that she and Mittens have much in common. She has outlined an enviable future for herself as a Hollywood A-lister who will marry Johnny Depp and have a front-row seat at the Oscars. However, like Romney, she has no realistic plan for bringing this grandiose vision to fruition.

The protestant ethic on which this country was founded seems to be in short supply. Instead of owning up to the hard work that needs to be done and the sacrifices that need to be made, we instead are buying in to the quick fix solutions being peddled by R&R. Instead of buckling down and pitching in we’ve decided to pop a pain killer and swallow R&R’s candy cane vision.

It is interesting that in exactly none of Romney’s national appearances—not in the primaries, the convention, nor any of the three debates—did Romney actually detail his 5 point plan for re-becoming the greatest country we never weren’t. Romney’s omission was meant to lead us to believe that his plan was far too substantial, too credulously wonky, to be discussed on primetime TV when all of America was watching. He urged us instead to go on MittensRomney.com and digest the plan in our own time. Having done that, it remains clear that this 5 point plan is no plan at all. It’s a vision – a destination without a road map. 

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