It’s hard out here for a CEO!

because-its-hard-out-here-for-a-pimpOh, poor Howard Schultz. When he started making noises about running for president, he was supposed to be greeted with excited centrist goodness, people tired of the way things happen in Washington, all coming together to shouting “We’ll take that in a venti, Howard!”

But not so much. We’ve already moved to the whining part of things: Schultz is just a poor bullied rich guy and it’s not fair you guys.

Well, this is happening for some very good reasons, none of which Howard Schultz seems to understand, but which Stephen Robinson at Wonkette sums up pretty well (and archly).

SCHULTZ: [It’s] my life experience. People are gonna think it’s my Starbucks experience, but it’s what I’ve learned along the way. It’s a real understanding that someone has to restore the promise of America and what qualifies me is that I will be a leader of a country of all American people that people will trust and admire because people will understand I have walked in their shoes. I’m on both sides of the equation. I’m someone who’s successful. I’m someone who’s come from the projects. I understand the American people.

This is what you think passes for a reason people should vote for you when you’ve spent your career hearing pitches from ad agencies and consultants about messaging. We had a lot of leader words on the mood board in the branding brainstorm!

How will he reign in rising healthcare costs?

SCHULTZ: We bring in people smarter than myself with skills and experience beyond Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi in the room, get pharma in the room, get private enterprise in the room, and realize we all need to have skin in the game,” Schultz said, referring to the pharmaceutical industry.

Oh yes, he said “skin in the game.” (Actually, one of our problems is how much “skin in the game” private insurers have in this game.) We’ll all get in a room and roll up our sleeves! That shit produces high favorability ratings in our main demographics! Let’s get some photo ops of Nancy and Mitch fist-bumping with Howard beaming in the background!

Despite all this, I would have expected Schultz to be doing better, because America loves a CEO who wants to be president, despite that pretty much never having worked out in the past because oddly enough, governments and businesses are very different things that function in very different ways.

(You want a business role that might make a good president? Try a product manager. They are held accountable for a ton of things that require the effort of people over whom they have no formal authority. That seems like an excellent preparation for politics to me.)

So where has he gone wrong? Well, I think characterizing popular tax policies that have been implemented successfully in the US in the past as crazy commie plots didn’t help. Nor did asserting universal healthcare is a crazy idea that can’t work (except everywhere else on the planet) help him. And when he starts regurgitating things like “Fauxcohontas” like some kind of more articulate version of Donald Trump, well, that’s the game.

Because the biggest problem is that Schultz wants to be something new, but really he’s something utterly familiar: a politician as designed by an marketing firm with a moderately-competent team, full of nifty catch phrases and little to say about policy… and clearly out of his depth when he tries to dig in. So he wants to bring him “people smarter than himself!”

Here’s an idea: Why don’t we just vote for people smarter than Schultz? Several of them are already running for the Democratic nomination.


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