Can Anyone Govern?

Can Anyone Govern?

A piece entitled "Can Rick Perry Govern?" sets a high bar.

Amid all the horse-race analysis of Perry’s candidacy—can he win? how does he stack up against Mitt Romney?—a more basic question has been lost. Can he govern?

Therein lies the rub for Rick Perry. His record in Texas doesn’t exactly blow you away. The man can win an election, no doubt. But once the campaigns are over and he actually gets into office, well, the results aren’t inspiring.

In fact, I would argue that Perry has achieved no major legislative accomplishments as governor.
One might argue that 'legislative accomplishments' aren't really the business of a governor; and certainly Texas' jobs picture is markedly better than anyone else's. Both pieces argue that Gov. Perry had little to do with the economic picture, though; and at least some of the reasoning is solid.

What is interesting to me is that this question about Perry precisely mirrors questions about Obama and Bachmann. As for the President, the difference between the rhetoric around his campaign and his actual record of accomplishment is so well rehearsed even on the left that it needs little argument; and the charge of legislative accomplishment was also leveled at Rep. Bachmann during the recent debates.

We know from Rep. Bachmann's career in the private sector that she is a capable woman. One might claim that Mr. Obama had a successful career too, being a lecturer in Chicago, a state official and a Senator, publishing two books and winning awards like the Grammy. Gov. Perry was a military officer (a C-130 pilot, which is a pretty nifty job all things considered).

There is a point of complexity at which human organizations cease to be effective, and begin to break down. Technology is probably changing the precise locus of that point, but I doubt it is eliminating it. I might not ask if failure to govern effectively proves that someone is a poor candidate. I might ask instead whether good governance, at this level of complexity, is still possible.

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