The following is excerpted from a Washington Post op-ed by Bob Kerrey, Mark Alderman, and Howard Schweitzer. I had to read through it a couple of times in order to believe what I was actually reading. Now it’s your turn:
Given the sheer size and cost of this enterprise, the federal government should borrow a page from the corporate world. The country’s chief executive officer needs a chief operating officer to run the day-to-day government, to cut through budget battles, political fiefdoms, parochialism and inertia to assist the president in keeping this country moving. Let the president’s chief of staff manage the White House – an enormous responsibility in itself. We need a chief operating officer to manage everything else.
… Several recent examples of government action and inaction underscore the need for a COO. Few would dispute that the Federal Emergency Management Agency failed to perform during the Hurricane Katrina tragedy and that the Minerals Management Service fell far short of its mission leading up to the Deepwater Horizon crisis this year. The COO would be responsible for ensuring that such situations do not happen again.
… What are qualifications for this position? The COO should have significant business experience as well as sensitivity to the mechanics of government. That experience would serve him or her well in managing the government’s vast moving parts. Bringing an accomplished business person into the Obama administration would have the added benefit of providing private-side perspective and experience.
And so on from there. But you get the idea.
Of course the fundamental problem here is that the government already has enough chiefs and way too many indians. FEMA already has its own director, who is answerable to the Secretary of Homeland Security, a Cabinet-level position. In the wake of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Minerals Management Service has been divided into three separate government agencies, all under the purview of the Department of the Interior, whose Secretary is also a Cabinet member. Why do we need yet another tier in the Executive Branch?
And what exactly are Bob Kerrey and his pals trying to say? Certainly they must realize that publishing this op-ed is roughly the equivalent of tugging on the nation’s sleeve, and now they’re pointing and whispering about the Obama Administration’s most serious handicap — the embarrassing absence of administration officials who have previously achieved a genuine level of success as business managers or entrepreneurs, combined with the now painful reality that our Chief Executive also had no meaningful track record of business, diplomatic, economic, or military accomplishments when he assumed office.
Oh, and guess who they think would be perfect for the job? Michael Bloomberg. Allahpundit writes, “In fact, what this really is — whether they know it or not — is a “Bloomberg for president” piece filtered through Kerrey’s loyalty to his party.
The idea of a Presidential COO is just too absurd to be taken seriously. So we are left to wonder: could this really be the first not-so-subtle signal from the real Democratic party leaders (as opposed to the Chicago mob currently occupying the White House) that very few Democrats, even those with the deepest loyalty to the party, are going to continue shilling for Emperor Obama’s Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat? Are they trying to tell the President, perhaps in a way that will only minimally damage his fragile ego and self-esteem, that he is not capable of handling the job?
Will it be the Democrats who ensure that Barack Obama is just a one-term president?
UPDATE: Um … yeah. Let the full CYA / damage control campaign begin:
Dana Milbank: “Would We Be Better Off Under A President Hillary Clinton?”