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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Why a U.S. President Manifesto Standard

While many of you are now reading, How to Select an American President by James A. George with James A. Rodger (c) 2017 Archway Publishing, I am writing a follow-on book as part of the series. The new book is titled: A U.S. President’s Manifesto, A model for how presidential candidates to tell their story, By James A. George with James A. Rodger © 2017 All Rights Reserved.

It is frustrating to devote scholarly effort to the production of advice and education for voters given the incumbent presidency that has lowered the bar. For the nation to regain its losing stature as a democracy, citizens must resist and work to restore higher standards.

There will likely be a Constitutional crisis during the Trump administration. Emolument Clause violation and Misprision of a felony are impeachable crimes committed by the President. Why it is taking so long to prosecute has to do with obstruction of justice by the Republican-controlled Congress that also has a conflict of interest with this president?

I am moving forward. After having established standards for Presidential resumes, now we are turning to standards for Party Platforms and Presidential Manifestos.

Chapter 1: Why a U.S. President Manifesto Standard?

Having experienced the U.S. Election 2016, voter citizens must surely conclude that the American political system is in deep trouble and need of repair or replacement. Indications include:

  1. Too few qualified candidates
  2. Inadequate qualification standards
  3. Inadequate resume evaluation process
  4. Political party disunity and dysfunction
  5. Deficient transparency about political driving forces
  6. Candidate’s misalignment with voter needs and wants and misalignment with their party
  7. Systemic deficiencies resulting in dysfunctional government
  8. Intrusion by cyber hackers to interfere in a fair election
  9. Deficiencies in omissions from flawed and incomplete presidential manifestos

Some might say that the outcome is exactly how they desired (49%). Others could disagree because the popular vote was in disparity with the electoral vote (51%). That is not the point here. When political parties fail to produce candidates that have the ability to unify the nation, then the result will be a dysfunctional government. When voters elect representatives, who lack collaboration and unification skills, knowledge, and experience, the government in a pluralistic democratic republic such as the U.S. isn’t likely to perform effectively. Worse, the world’s representative democracy is degrading to what former President, Jimmy Carter describes as now being an oligarchy. An oligarchy is when a few powerful entities control government by having managed the financing of elected officials who are beholding to them.

The U.S. Congress became controlled by wealthy persons and corporations that in turn co-opted government to legislate that they should have the right to gain economic superiority in election financing at the expense of individual citizens. They appealed their rights to the U.S Supreme Court that had no choice except to side with the moneyed and powerful interests because that is how the law is established, however, flawed it may be. Congress must change the law. At least one candidate and one party in Elections 2016 wanted to do that.

The first step that Americans can take to improve the situation and process is to focus on selecting better candidates. That is what the author recommends in the book: How to Select an American President by James A. George with James A. Rodger © 2017 Archway Publishing. We gave attention to how to evaluate candidate resumes. Once screened, the best candidate worthy of consideration on merit may are assessed based upon their approach to being President of the United States. Deficiently qualified candidates are rejected without further attention.

Voters have limited capacity to evaluate candidates, and it is up to political parties and their processes to produce the best-qualified candidates. They must do this by establishing guidelines and standards for evaluating resumes, and then evaluate candidate ideas and agendas. They have failed.
Citizens of all kinds can express their thoughts about what to expect from government performance, and about ideas that promote improvements across the broad and deep range of public policy and operational performance.

Intended here is to require that U.S. Presidential candidates aspire to certain minimum standards in declaring and describing how they intend to govern and to manage under the nation’s Constitutional laws and in context with the three branches of government. The standard for this is citizen-driven, beginning with this book’s example.

The American democratic republic is founded on the notion that citizens are the “bosses” of their elected representatives at every level of government from local to state and the federal government. No matter who you are or your status and ability, the responsibility is yours that includes:
1.    Understanding the job or position for which you are staffing
2.    Knowing the skill, knowledge, proficiency and medical and mental capabilities required
3.    Having the proper information to evaluate and to make choices

For most busy people and “average” Americans, finding the time to attend to this responsibility might be a stretch. That is why citizens depend upon political parties and other “trusted” organizations to assist them. Our legal and regulatory institutions have a part to play as well. They are the organizations that help verify the facts about politicians and their claims, otherwise answering the question, “Are they truthful?”

In this book that is part of a series, the suggestion is that presidential candidates possess sufficient knowledge, skill, and experience to attend to managing a vast government enterprise. Presumed is that candidates should have experience managing a large government enterprise such as having been a governor of a large state, or a mayor of a large city. Having experience managing a large government organization is only one prerequisite.

Better still is that a candidate has experience having managed a large commercial enterprise, preferably competing in the global market. Having done that successfully, a candidate has demonstrated the ability to perform managing a diverse workforce while also succeeding in producing strong financial performance and essential outcomes.

The U.S. government is a service-delivery enterprise. That distinction is important because it points to optimizing performance through logistics management. The government operates as a service-oriented enterprise. Since the U.S. government manages to create a productive environment for individual and commercial success, it makes sense to expect presidential candidates to have had direct executive experience. In fact, presidential candidates who have been successful inventors and who have created large enterprises or who have extended their life cycles through innovation and invention should be valued as most worthy.

What is the alternative? Some people begin their working careers intent on being politicians all of their lives. Doing that, they forfeit ever having worked in the private sector, learning to manage a commercial enterprise. They cannot have gained sufficient knowledge about the economy by working solely for the government.

By comparison, a successful business executive who has managed a large commercial enterprise may have had the opportunity to understand how government policies affect commerce and the national economy with the first-hand experience. However, if a corporate executive’s resume lacks government experience, then there may be no indication that the office-seeker can manage in a government enterprise that is considerably different culturally from commercial enterprise.
The American political system and the government is a public and private partnership, and candidates should reflect direct experience in that context. As important, presidential candidates must possess collaboration skills and associated behavioral characteristics. Having a certifiable high IQ with proof of applied intellect is not too much to demand. This book addresses what voters should expect from a presidential candidate expressed as a full manifesto.

According to Wiki with references to other sources, “a manifesto is a published verbal declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party or government. A manifesto usually accepts a previously published opinion or public consensus and promotes a new idea with prescriptive notions for carrying out changes the author believes should be made. It often is political or artistic in nature, but may present an individual's life stance. Manifestos relating to religious belief are referred to as creeds.”1

The idea here is to ask presidential candidates to write and publish their manifesto about how they intend to govern the vast U.S. bureaucracy. Included in the manifesto is the candidate’s description of how they intend to work with Congress in a bipartisan manner.

Many presidential candidates write books. They select a favorite theme and then drive it home in their personal author style. Often, the books are autobiographical. Those are good things because they provide insight into them. However, in the absence of a baseline standard, they may hit or miss important topics. It should not be a contest to try to discern candidates’ intentions as clarity is essential.

That is why an outline is needed for a presidential manifesto as a minimum standard. While this book offers a place to begin, expected is that other nonpartisan organizations may have additional ideas about what should be included. If this book prompts attention to the developing of presidential manifestos, that will have been the desired outcome.

One organization called “ontheissues.org” published an inventory of topics and how candidates running in Election 2016 responded to them. The organization listed topics accompanied by a more generic classification of subjects. It appears that this approach is media and candidate-driven.

“Candidates on the issues

Topics in the News

•    Affirmative Action See Civil Rights
•    Afghanistan See War & Peace
•    Alternative Energy See Energy & Oil
•    American Exceptionalism (See Foreign Policy)
•    Animal Rights See Environment
•    Arab Spring See War & Peace
•    Armed Forces Personnel See Homeland Security
•    Bailout & Stimulus See Corporations
•    Campaign Finance See Government Reform
•    China See Free Trade
•    Death Penalty See Crime
•    Disabled Rights See Civil Rights
•    Ebola See Health Care
•    Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell See Civil Rights
•    Drug War See Drugs
•    Energy Independence See Energy & Oil
•    Entitlement Reform See Health Care
•    Faith-Based See Welfare & Poverty
•    Federal Reserve See Budget & Economy
•    Flat Tax & FairTax See Tax Reform
•    Gay Rights See Civil Rights
•    Globalization See Free Trade
•    Global Warming See Environment
•    Illegal Immigrants See Immigration
•    Internet See Technology
•    Iranian Nukes See War & Peace
•    Iraq See War & Peace
•    ISIS (Islamic State) See Homeland Security
•    Israel & Palestine See See War & Peace
•    Mexican Border See Immigration
•    NAFTA See Free Trade
•    No Child Left Behind See Education
•    North Korea See War & Peace
•    Nuclear Energy & Weapons See Homeland Security
•    ObamaCare See Health Care
•    Privacy See Civil Rights
•    Privatization See Social Security
•    School Prayer See Education
•    SDI Missile Defense See Homeland Security
•    The second Amendment See Gun Control
•    Stem Cells See Abortion
•    Supreme Court See Government Reform
•    Syria See War & Peace
•    Ten Commandments See Principles & Values
•    Term Limits See Government Reform
•    Terrorism See War & Peace
•    Three Strikes See Crime
•    Tort Reform See Health Care
•    Unionization See Jobs
•    United Nations See Foreign Policy
•    Veterans See Homeland Security
•    Vaccinations See Health Care
•    Vouchers See Education
•    WMD See War & Peace”2

While an inventory of topics and a classification system is useful, in the absence of a minimum standard for contents, it is just an array of information. It enables comparison of ideas among candidates who are running for office in a specific election cycle, if and only if they address the topics. What such an array does not accomplish is to reconcile candidate’s ideas and abilities with the specific needs to manage the government enterprise.

This book takes a different approach by first considering the government departments and agencies, the bureaucracy, systems, and processes that are established by law and regulations. The current government establishment is the place to begin because the operational architecture exists, operates and performs by Congressional authority and under Executive management.

In the American system of government, the “as-is” environment is operated by executive action and in collaboration with the legislative branch of government and with judicial oversight. The U.S. government enterprise is expected to improve continuously and to adapt to meeting evolving needs and requirements.

Presidential candidates are expected to possess predictive management capabilities as their job is to anticipate and to prepare for future events and needs of all kinds and are associated with each department and agency of government. That means that presidential candidates will be asked to address how they will manage the current organizations and how they might improve them with suggested changes, additions, and deletions.

Presidents do four things:

1.    They staff and manage on-going operations.
2.    They assess current performance and recommend changes and improvements that to a large extent must be reflected in changes to laws and regulations.
3.    They create and implement policies to the extent allowed through collaboration and consensus.
4.    They anticipate and plan for the long-running future.

The U.S. Congress addresses government requirements concurrently with the Executive branch.
Interestingly, the U.S. Congress is in the position of designing systems and attributing them with resources and enabling technologies. They regulate funding and the rate of expenditures. Therefore, they determine the rate of change and improvement by establishing resource capacity.

The Executive branch, led by the President, may have ideas and priorities that are different from that of Congress. The two branches must reconcile to reach consensus about plans, budgets, and schedules for producing required outcomes. Defining “required outcomes” is a worthy topic because it appears that citizens and their parties and incumbent leaders are misaligned about the definition. It is unclear about the alignment of political parties and their members and leaders with the US Constitution. Such alignment needs an independent audit that includes contributions from academia and members of the press.

Two concepts about which the author has had direct experience in developing and guiding in the U.S. government as a consultant include:

1.    Service-oriented government enterprise
2.    Outcome-driven government

Service-oriented government enterprise describes the purpose of government as being to provide essential “services” that are administered by departments and agencies that result in citizen-need satisfaction. This idea is in parallel with the notion of “outcome-driven government.”
A website called “USA.gov”3 is a gateway to government services. (That website may be taken down or changed by President Donald Trump.)

“About the U.S.

Learn where to find answers to the most requested facts about the United States of America.

•    Benefits, Grants, and Loans
•    Learn about government programs that provide financial help for individuals and organizations.
•    Disasters and Emergencies
•    Learn how to prepare for and recover from disasters and emergencies.
•    Earth and the Environment
•    Find government information on energy, green technology, pollution, wildlife, and more.
•    Education
•    Find government information on education including primary, secondary, and higher education.
•    Government Agencies and Elected Officials
•    Find contact information for federal, state, and local government agencies and elected officials.
•    Health
•    Find health resources from the government.
•    Housing and Community
•    Get information and services to help with finding and keeping a home.
•    Jobs and Unemployment
•    Find out how and where to look for a new job or career, get help if you are unemployed, and more.
•    Laws and Legal Issues

Find out how to report a crime and other legal resources.
•    Military and Veterans
•    Learn more about help for veterans and service members, joining the military, and more.
•    Money and Shopping
•    Learn about consumer issues, taxes, unclaimed money, buying from the government, and more.
•    Travel and Immigration
•    Learn about visiting, traveling within, and moving to the United States.
•    Voting and Elections
Find answers to common questions about voting in the United States.”4

The question is does this array or listing of government services adequately describe what voters expect from government? In fact, this website is not service-oriented at all and is most incomplete. It would be a poor place to begin to develop requirements for a president’s manifesto, except for observing it as a source of trouble symptoms.

“Outcomes” are the end results required by government departments and agencies that have accompanying performance metrics as overseen by Congress that also legislates standards for performance. The executive branch (ultimately the President) and executive appointees are responsible for achieving expected results. An outcome is “something that happens as a result of an activity or process.”5

Consider a for instance: Ensuring economic security is a prerequisite to everything else that government can do. Without it, a nation loses its capacity to defend itself militarily and to protect the homeland. Therefore, when American citizens witnessed their nation in near financial ruin in 2007, it is fair to suggest that America was in a severely dangerous state. It owed vast amounts to Chinese creditors. (It still does.) While the Chinese are trading partners, they are still outliers to the American and Western style of democratic pluralism. Therefore, America was, and some believe still is at great risk.

Previous work suggests that the primary responsibility of the U.S. government is “to optimize return on national resources”. That means that given a favorable ratio of people to resources, America can ensure a good life for its citizens in the absence of poverty by creating an ideal environment for individual performance and corporate performance.

It is imperative that presidential office-seekers demonstrate their understanding of how the U.S. government systems work to produce required outcomes. The degree to which candidates can explain it is a reflection of the degree to which they are prepared.

The extent to which presidential candidates cannot address the needs of each and every department of government constitutes grounds for risks undertaken by citizens. Risks are mitigated by candidates’ abilities to describe how essential outcomes will be produced. It is inadequate to say “what” they will do in the absence of explaining “how” work will be accomplished to produce results.

The term “essential” is used many times. Essential refers to anything that is necessary for people to live and to work productively. For instance, citizens have a right to expect that their national government will protect the environment to ensure clean air and water.
News from Flint, Michigan, and host of other communities from around the nation demonstrate that governments at multiple levels have failed to ensure that citizens have safe drinking water. Even after the contaminated water is identified, getting in fixed by the government is proving to be nearly impossible. How long must citizens wait for a permanent fix?

There are continuous debates between citizens and corporations about the necessity to keep the environment clean and healthy.

Corporations seek to maximize profits, and sometimes that motivation is in conflict with the need to protect citizens. Former Governor and U.S. presidential candidate, Mitt Romney reflected on the situation.

“’I see way too much demagoguery and populism on both sides of the aisle, and I only hope and aspire that we'll see more greatness,’ the GOP nominee in 2012 said on Thursday night in Washington at a gala supporting an Israeli university.

The former Massachusetts governor said he is “dismayed at where we are now” and wishes Americans had “better choices” for presidential contenders while reiterating that he will not toss his name into the hat.

"I think it happens to be an inflection point in our history as we go through this dramatic change economically and militarily, socially, all those things … And I happen to think that the person who is leading the nation has an enormous and disproportionate impact on the course of the world, so I am dismayed at where we are now, I wish we had better choices, and I keep hoping that somehow things will get better, and I just don't see an easy answer from where we are."

In the context of government enterprise, citizen needs are defined by Congress and the President as being essential, that is things for which people cannot live and survive without. A president’s manifesto should include a demonstration about what the candidate believes are essentials and their associated priorities.

Some “essentials” include things that are shared by and common to everyone. Other “essentials” address the needs of specific subsets of the population that have unique requirements for the government to intercede to fill gaps.

“Government” in every case refers to the bureaucracy that exists at the privilege of “We the People.” Citizens pay for services that may benefit everyone, as well as attending fellow citizens with unique circumstances that warrant assistance. Therein is a notion of “discretion” that is a function of “capacity” to address needs. While citizen needs may seem endless, the fact is that not all needs can be addressed completely at once due to a natural economic condition that is “limited resources.”
Sometimes, the U.S. Congress passes laws and regulations for which resources are insufficient to pay for them or to otherwise implement them as expressed. These “unfunded” mandates impose burdens that are either unmet and impossible to achieve or that are shifted to States and others to pay for. Accountability is eroded by this as well as the ability to comply. Because people in need are often subsets of the population, those whose needs are not met may become lost in the greater public conscience until or unless Congress and the President bring focus to attending to them for the “public good."

What is the “public good” and how is that evaluated? This and many other questions are addressed in the context of the president’s manifesto.

When the nation has a considerable amount of debt, and when there is a revenue shortfall with a mounting deficit, those are significant trouble indications. At the end of the George W. Bush presidential term in 2007, America was facing a financial collapse.
Financial distress is an extraordinary problem because the nation’s security and viability are at stake. Nothing is more important than managing to restore financial integrity because everything else depends upon that.

What are some of the possible causes of a nation’s financial stress?
•    Citizen needs exceed the government’s capacity to satisfy them.
•    Government commits to doing more than it has the revenue capacity to achieve.
•    The nation endures disasters from which resources are insufficient to recover.
•    The nation embarks on foreign policy that requires military support at a very high cost.

There are a long-standing issue and debate about topics that are aligned with the causes of financial stress some of which include the following:
•    The existence of impoverished people in the presence of others who have a good life and much more.
•    Is it the nation’s purpose to create an economic environment in which there is a good life for all of its citizens?
•    What is a “good life”?
•    Is it national policy that “poverty” be illegal, or otherwise eliminated for all persons?
•    Are we willing to ensure equality for all people in the absence of discrimination?
•    Can women be treated equally at last?


Never give up on America


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