Saturday, February 27, 2010

Charlie and Christy -- See How They Roll

Working with the Sam Meas campaign has me out now on almost a nightly basis; as you can imagine, there's a lot of cross-pollination with local and state races at some of the events that a guy running for Congress attends.

Notwithstanding any policy issues, or who would be a better GOP nominee, or a better Governor, here's one quick observation about the organizational contrast between Charlie Baker and Christy Mihos -- it's stark.

It's not uncommon to see Christy Mihos haul himself 2.5 hours to an event from his home on the Cape. Nor is it uncommon to see him walk in by himself, hand his card out, give people his personal cell phone and e-mail address, and tell them to "give me a call" in what seems like a sincere voice. This seems like what you might expect from a convenience store magnate who is known to walk into one of his stores, see something out of place, and fix it himself before even bringing it to the Manager's attention.

Baker, by contrast, tends to move like a CEO. He's got a crew of nattily-dressed twentysomethings ready to move for him at the snap of a finger, almost literally. He's got people handing out cards, bumper stickers, and scooping up petition signatures and e-mail addresses. These people enter the room before he does and they leave after he departs. Watching it all, you get the strong sense that he's working from the playbook of someone who's been around the block a time or two in this game (maybe a former Bay Stater listed as 'Bill' on his speed dial?)

On the one hand, it's admirable to see Mihos doing a lot of the little things himself, but to me it begs the question of how well-developed is his organizational structure? Couldn't a guy with millions in the bank bring some kids just out of college on retainer for, say, $3k a month to carry all his papers, work the rooms, and move him around?

Then again, maybe Mihos built up his fortune by being stingy with his money. Maybe in some ways that's a good characteristic for someone who could have so much influence over the state budget.

But from the point of view of perception, maybe we want a leader to be more of a classical executive-type. One of the major problems the Carter Administration faced was that Carter was way too mired in details and way too reluctant to let go and trust his staff. Reagan, who will be much more admired by Presidential historians, actually brought a lot of pomp and circumstance BACK to the office; for this, he seems to be a lot more applauded than derided.

No comments: