Thought Experiment
February 13th, 2012

Mitt Romney’s big calling card is his experience taking over troubled enterprises with underperforming assets and laying off all the workers selling them for component parts turning them around. I wonder what Bain Romney would say about Campaign Romney if he were brought in as a consultant.

Would Bain Romney think that the campaign, as an organization, is using resources wisely and efficiently? Would he think the management structure was sound? Would he like the way the campaign’s product line has been reshuffled, while the management team remained mostly intact? What would he make of the campaign’s HR-side of the house–which keeps Norm Coleman but fires the worker who coached the candidate to two winning debates?

Most of all, it would be interesting to know what the famously data-driven Bain Romney makes of Campaign Romney’s leadership.

I’m not asking this to be snarky–honestly–but because I’d love to read someone smart (Megan McArdle? Avik Roy?) do something along these lines. If he was still with us, my friend Dean Barnett (a Romney guy, through and through) would have crushed this piece. Just one more reason to miss him.

  1. A.S. February 13, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    I don’t think an outsider really has the data to do a decent job here. A few PPP polls ain’t gonna do it. You are just going to have to wait for the post-mortem on this one, when you can get all of the insiders dishing on how bad all the other insiders were to get the relevant data.

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  3. Galley Wife February 13, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Rhetorical genius alert! The President unveiled the budget today, saying this: “The last thing we need is for Washington to stand in the way of America’s comeback,” Mr Obama said. “The time for self-inflicted wounds to our economy is over.”

    Aren’t you glad I’m obsessing over keeping track of this?

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  5. SkinsFanPG February 13, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    A.S. (God I hope you’re Andrew Sullivan) – There is plenty of data. First, there’s a ton of money to follow. Where it was spent, how it was spent, what was the return on investment. If you wanted to get really fancy, you’d implement some sort of sabermetrics w/ VORP like analysis. Second, there a wealth of words written on the man and campaign by the reporters who follow him on the campaign trail. Finally, there are polls, and they shouldn’t be dismissed. Those polls need analyzing of the type 538 USED TO DO.
    If you built an accurate picture of the campaign, then analyzed it from Bain Romney’s perspective (not as hard as you would think: his time at Bain is very well documented, he probably put together thousands of reports that are either currently available or probably not all that hard to get a hold of), you’d have a very interesting article.
    I’m guessing Bain Romney would assail the Romney Campaign from the top-down, calling for the ouster of the candidate himself to be replaced by Bain Romney.

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  7. Steve Sailer February 14, 2012 at 1:01 am

    From Fortune in 1987:

    On a January morning four years ago, 30 sleek, immaculately turned-out executives sat tensely at a ring of tables in a large conference room at the Hyatt Rickeys Hotel in Palo Alto. They had flown in from all over the world for a regular partners’ meeting of Bain & Co., a Boston-based management consulting firm. Their attention was riveted not on a discussion of the firm’s revenues but on a speakerphone placed on a table in the center of the room.

    Rising out of the ether was the voice of John Theroux, Bain’s managing partner in London. He was describing a palace coup in progress at Guinness PLC, one of Bain’s largest clients. Ernest Saunders, the Guinness managing director who had hired Bain, was trying to unseat Deputy Chairman Anthony Purssell, the man who had brought Saunders in to head the company. Because it was in the Bain firm’s interest to have its man indisputably in charge, Theroux was seeking advice on how to help Saunders consolidate his position.

    For the next two hours the partners were canvassed for ideas on how to place Purssell in such an untenable situation that he would have to quit. Ultimately a strategy was devised. ”It was quite cold-blooded,” recalls a partner who attended. Within the month Purssell was out, and Saunders was alone at the top.

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  9. membraind February 14, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Rob Long wrote a couple Long View columns about this in National Review. It came out a couple months ago, but the gist is Bain Capital evaluates the Romney campaign and its inability to gain traction with voters and suggests replacing the candidate.

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  11. gfaw February 15, 2012 at 10:55 am

    What Romney really needs to do is hire Rick Perry’s crack staff of political Moneyball “eggheads,” who boasted last summer that they would use rigorous management/statistical tools to ensure the campaign’s quality-control.

    True to their word, those guys were the Oakland A’s of the 2012 primaries!