If Howard Dean were a CEO, he'd be ousted by now
Cross posted from the new home of Heidi Li's Potpourri
With all due disclaimers about the reliability of polls, the ones that interest me the most are the ones that are focused on traditional swing states and states that this year are tending toward being swing states (these are states that have generally been solidly "blue" but since the Democratic Party Convention are turning "purple").
Some samples from today:
- Nevada (a state that Senator Clinton won handily, despite it being a caucus state with all the usual problems of caucuses)
- Pennsylvania: (another state where Senator Clinton won the primary)
- North Carolina and Minnesota (states where Senator Obama won primaries but is apparently not able to close the deal against Senator McCain)
Data like this explain why I am adamant that Dr. Dean should hand in his resignation immediately. I have nothing against Howard Dean personally. I do not know him and have no particular feelings of like or dislike for him. But he is incompetent as well as without integrity. These are not qualifications for retaining the office equivalent to CEO of a major publicly traded corporation.
If such a CEO insisted, in the face of all evidence, in pursuing a policy that would lead to short and long term major damage to the corporation and its shareholders' interests, he would not only deserve to be ousted, he would rightly be considered to have breached his fiduciary duty - duties of loyalty and care - to the corporation and its shareholders.
If such a CEO engaged in constant self-dealing at the expense of the good of the shareholders, he would be ousted and would be considered in breach of his fiduciary duties.
This by the way is what has become of CEO's like Michael Eisner (Disney) and Jeffrey Skilling (Enron). I neither like nor dislike these men, who like Howard Dean I do not know. But in all three cases I have contempt for these individuals in their professional capacities. Like Howard Dean, Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Skilling chose to pursue personal power over their responsibilities to pursue a broader purpose.
More worrying, Eisner and Skilling clung to their positions for so long that they brought major damage to the institutions they headed. For example, Eisner's refusal to step aside cost Disney millions of dollars and incalcuable good will - and at the end of the day, he was indeed forced out.
Since Dr. Dean's resemblance to these corporate officers is so pronounced, I fear that he will drag the Democratic Party through a similarly expensive and damaging fight. Not only should he resign effective immediately, Dr. Dean should make it clear that he will remove himself from seeking any influence over his choice of successor. He should state that even if Senator Obama manages a win in the general election, he, Dr. Dean, realizes that the Party must break with tradition and hold an authentic election for his successor, rather than simply permit Senator Obama to install the next DNC chair.
This is what an honorable and responsible person in Dr. Dean's position would do. I have not seen many signs of honor or responsibility from Dr. Dean, but this is a situation where Dr. Dean could begin to mend his ways.
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