False analogy was false

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Bill Maxwell’s Oct. 5 column (“Pay attention to the candidates’ logic – or their lack of it”) was good food for thought and surprisingly even-handed. However, his choice of the following example for a false analogy was, well, false: “A person who has headed a successful multibillion-dollar private company is qualified to be president of the United States. Yes, both jobs require being in charge and making big decisions, but many of the challenges the president of a company faces are nothing like those the president ... faces.”

Per Dictionary.com, definition one of the verb “qualify” is: “To provide with proper or necessary skills, knowledge, credentials, etc.; make competent.”

“Competent” is defined as “having suitable or sufficient skill, knowledge, experience, etc. for some purpose ... .” It is no false analogy to state that someone who has demonstrated a high level of proficiency in skills including but not limited to leadership, management, delegation, decision-making, negotiation, and public relations in the private sector is a qualified candidate for a public-sector job that demands a high level of proficiency in leadership, management, delegation, decision-making, negotiation and public relations, among other things.

This is not to say that possessing these qualifications invariably makes one the best candidate for the job, or even someone who should be seriously considered for it, or that a given fast-food burger-flipper might not turn out to be a better chief executive than a given company CEO. And one can argue that the presidency presents challenges for which no other job is adequate preparation.

But “qualified” does not mean “best” or “ideal”; it means that the CEO can produce evidence of possessing a skill set that promises to be useful in the presidency. The two jobs are indeed analogous in ways that burger-flipping and the presidency are not.

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agustinian
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agustinian 10/16/12 - 07:19 am
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So CEO Doesn't Count?

OK, so being a CEO doesn't count much toward being a president. So where does "community organizing" line up in that department?

crkgrdn
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crkgrdn 10/16/12 - 07:52 am
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community organizer or ceo?

In my early years I organized sandlot baseball games, built jalopies from scrap lumber and old wagons, had lemonade stands, and went fishing with my pals.
Still later, I was an usher in a movie theater, became a sergeant in the Air Force during my single enlistment, and taught history for 35 years in high schools.
Never did I think that I had the qualifications to become president of the United States.
Maybe I would have felt qualified....if I had just been a community organizer.

soapy_725
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soapy_725 10/16/12 - 08:04 am
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The POTUS is just a manager.
Unpublished

He must have a high level of management skills and have the necessary expert resources to balance his lack of experience. The POTUS is not GOD. There is no School for POTUS. We used to think wartime generals made the best POTUS. They were trained in war and killing without moral conflict. No we are a peaceful country.

POTUS Carter was an excellent example of a good intentioned man with little skill set and bad resources to call upon.

POTUS Bush Jr was another with limited skill set and resources/experts who took advantage of Bush's position.

Maybe we could say that of all of our KINGS. Flawed human beings. Some with good intent, some self serving despots.

In the end, management means "using people". It does not have to contain leadership.

Jane18
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Jane18 10/16/12 - 08:34 am
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Work Background

Don't forget having experience in serving ice cream......

Riverman1
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Riverman1 10/16/12 - 08:51 am
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Interesting that someone

Interesting that someone would go to all this trouble attempting an academic defense of Obama's lack of experience. It is what it is.

Young Fred
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Young Fred 10/16/12 - 09:12 am
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?

Based on the comments from those above, I believe they’ve misconstrued the point the letter writer was making.

bubbasauce
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bubbasauce 10/16/12 - 09:17 am
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Am I totally getting this? So

Am I totally getting this? So you need to be a community organizer, not be able to run a business to be President? Seriously? Wake up people!

rmwhitley
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rmwhitley 10/16/12 - 09:58 am
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marx, hitler, lenin, stalin, napoleon, caligula,
Unpublished

were all great "community organizers" and I would put obama right up there with them. By the way, what happened to their communities after their ascension to power?

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