When Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts, he tried to translate his experience as the CEO of Bain Capital into being CEO of the State of Massachusetts. Here in Florida where I live, we're witnessing first hand what happens when a former CEO ascends to the governorship of a state. Rick Scott is having difficulty understanding that Governors can't just issue orders and have them obeyed the way the chairman of a large company does. Governors are supposed to partner with the other branches of government, but it looks like former CEOs, used to having every order obeyed, have difficulty making the transition by cooperating with legislators.
For example, Rick Scott has taken it upon himself to issue executive orders and ram legislation through Florida's Republican controlled Congress. Just last month he sent out a letter to three state-supported cancer research facilities telling them they couldn't earn royalties from their brand names and continue to receive state funds at the same time. In a rebuke, The Tampa Bay Times published an editorial:
It was another thoughtless edict from a governor who seems unable to make the transition from corporate CEO, and it raises troubling implications for jobs, medical research and the economic future of Tampa Bay and the state.Other attempts by Rick Scott to shove his edicts down the throats of Floridians, have embroiled the state in a mounting number of legal challenges and lawsuits.
In a letter dated May 10, Scott warned Moffitt, the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami and the Shands Cancer Hospital in Gainesville that they "may not franchise their name or brand to other private entities" and "may not receive royalties or other remuneration from other entities" in exchange for the use of their name or brand. Future eligibility to receive state money, Scott wrote, "will be contingent on compliance with these terms."
Lawsuits over major legislation championed by Gov. Rick Scott more than a year ago are still working their way through the courts, and the legal bills for Florida's taxpayers continue to mount.This is what governing by CEO looks like. The evidence from his time has Governor of Massachusetts, points to the fact that Willard M. Romney would use the same governing style, if he were able to move into the White House. There was an article published by Vanity Fair in February during the primaries that touched on Romney's style of governing. I have referenced this article several times, and still people tell me they hadn't seen it, so I think it is important to look at it again. It is a revealing look into Romney's lack of appropriate social skills, which he more recently demonstrated on his trip to London last month (see #Romneyshambles), as well as his style of governing, explained on the first page of the long article:
Challenges to laws sought by Scott to revamp the state's pension plans, require drug testing of welfare recipients and drastically alter the way teachers are paid were brought by the teachers' union, the American Civil Liberties Union or other opposing organizations in 2011. But because of the appeals process, none of the cases is resolved yet, and the legal meter for the state is still running.
If Romney is exceedingly comfortable around family and close friends, he’s much less so around those he doesn’t know well, drawing a boundary that’s difficult to traverse. It’s a strict social order—us and them—that has put co-workers, political aides, casual acquaintances, and others in his professional circles, even people who have worked with or known him for years, outside the bubble. As a result, he has numerous admirers but, by several accounts, not a long list of close pals. “He’s very engaging and charming in a small group of friends he’s comfortable with,” said one former aide. “When he’s with people he doesn’t know, he gets more formal. And if it’s a political thing where he doesn’t know anybody, he has a mask.” For those outside the inner circle, Romney comes across as all business. Colleagues at work or political staffers are there to do a job, not to bond. “Mitt is always the star,” said one Massachusetts Republican. “And everybody else is a bit player.” He has little patience for idle chatter or small talk, little interest in mingling at cocktail parties, at social functions, or even in the crowded hallway. He is not fed by, and does not crave, casual social interaction, often displaying little desire to know who people are and what makes them tick. “He wasn’t overly interested in people’s personal details or their kids or spouses or team building or their career path,” said another former aide. “It was all very friendly but not very deep.” Or, as one fellow Republican put it, “He has that invisible wall between ‘me’ and ‘you.’” Referring to the time later when Romney was governor of Massachusetts, a Democratic lawmaker recalls, “You remember Richard Nixon and the imperial presidency? Well, this was the imperial governor.” There were the ropes that often curtailed access to Romney and his chambers. The elevator settings restricted access to his office. The tape on the floor told people exactly where to stand during events. This was the controlled environment that Romney created. His orbit was his own. “We always would talk about how, among the legislators, he had no idea what our names were—none,” the lawmaker said, “because he was so far removed from the day-to-day operations of state government.”In addition to calling a report about Romney's tax plan that was released yesterday as being liberally-biased, Romney's team claims that "it didn’t factor in the savings in Romney’s proposed spending and it didn’t analyze the positive economic effects of reducing corporate taxes." Of course, that claim depends on Romney being able to get his plans through a politically-divided Congress that has already demonstrated that it can't get anything accomplished. While Romney may think he will be able to govern by edict, the reality is he has already demonstrated that he does not have the necessary social skills nor the cooperative nature of working with others to accomplish his plans. Today the AP took a fresh look at Romney's governing style:
What worked for Mitt Romney in the corporate boardroom didn’t fly in the more raucous corridors of the Massachusetts Legislature.The one exception was when Romney worked with Democrats to pass that healthcare legislation that he doesn't want to talk about, even reaching out to Senator Ted Kennedy.
Some Democratic lawmakers accused Romney of being aloof, unapproachable and not much interested in working with them to build the kind of friendships and alliances that are needed to help pass legislation. They say Romney’s legislative agenda on big issues like transportation and higher education fizzled as a result.
"He didn’t get that government was not a business," said state Rep. Cory Atkins, a Democrat elected in 1999.
In a rare moment of unity, Romney, Kennedy and leading Democrats were all handshakes and smiles as they shared the stage at Boston's historic Faneuil Hall for the bill signing ceremony in 2006.Last night, Rachel Maddow reported that when Romney was caught red-handed lying about where he claimed residency when he filed his income tax, his defense was that he never bothered to read that stuff that he signed. There can be no doubt that when Kennedy said that one of them hadn't read the legislation, he was referring to Romney, providing confirmation that Romney is repeating his performance of 10 years ago. He's lying about his income taxes, and he's planning to bring his CEO-style of governing to the White House.
"My son said that having Sen. Kennedy and me together like this on this stage behind the same piece of landmark legislation will help slow global warming," Romney joked to Kennedy, who was instrumental in shepherding the bill through the Legislature. "That's because hell has frozen over."
"My son said something, too," Kennedy retorted. "When Kennedy and Romney support a piece of legislation, usually one of them hasn't read it."
As Romney continues to stonewall reporters asking difficult questions, when they are allowed to ask questions at all, with answers that amount to nothing more than a word salad, keep an eye out for more investigative reports that include interviews describing what it was like to try to accomplish anything with a leader who would rather dictate than cooperate. It is more likely that Romney would find his administration dragged into court like Rick Scott, running up the deficit further on the taxpayers' tab.