Friday, March 23, 2007

SOX for FOX: Good Governance

Doing the Right Thing on Iraq - A Different Perspective

Daily Kos

I had the opportunity last week to spend some time in DC with the Democratic House Caucus as they debated the Iraq Supplemental bill. In fact, I was given the opportunity to speak to the Caucus for a few minutes. Against the advice of several "consultants" who wanted me to just show up, be bland and ask for financial support, I couldn't let this golden chance slip by without giving them my take on the Iraq situation from a different angle.

Prior to running for Congress, I've spent my professional career in the business world, mostly helping start-ups and small growth companies to "get going" and become established. While the US Government is clearly not a business entity, there are many similarities in the way the Government is run to the way large and small companies operate.

So, in the Caucus room I addressed one of the main criticisms coming from the other side of the aisle - that Congress is "micromanaging" the war.

I told our Dem Representatives that perhaps we should use the language of the free market so often used by Republicans and their corporate sponsors. The way I see it, Congress is the Board of Directors of the largest, most important enterprise in the history of the world - the United States of America - and the President is the CEO. But he’s a weak CEO surrounded by a bad management team. In these circumstances, there isn't a company worth it's salt in America where the Board should not step in to set strategic, and sometimes tactical, parameters. In fact, in these circumstances, any Board has a fiduciary obligation, a responsibility, to its shareholders – in this case, every American citizen – to intervene with purpose, decisiveness and conviction to change the strategic course of the organization. If we've learned anything from the recent corporate scandals at Enron, MCI, etc., it should be that while some of the scandals arose from bad people purposefully doing bad things, these corporate frauds were enabled largely because of ineffective Board oversight and unconscionable Board inaction.

In the business world, strong Board action in the face of a ineffective CEO/management team that is pursuing a rigid and ill-planned strategy isn’t micromanaging – its called good governance. And, in my view, it‘s good politics.

I can tell you that the arguments I heard in the Dem House Caucus were by and large impassioned and heartfelt. And leadership is working hard to come up with a solution. But here in the west, after knocking on nearly 20,000 doors across Wyoming last year, I KNOW that people want straight talk and a Representative who will stand up for his/her convictions.

This is Congress' chance to show the American people that they have the courage to hold others accountable, and that they have the intestinal fortitude to do the right thing regardless of political calculation.

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