Monday, January 23, 2012

Mia Culpa (Not the Actress)


Having reflected on my own rating system, I realize that I have mixed together two different types of rating measures; character, and views held, i.e., policy. They should be assessed separately, then brought together in a way that accounts for their weight, because a candidate could be rated high on things like his/her moral character, but hold views or espouse policies, entirely at odds with those of the rater. In such a case, the rater -- the prospective voter -- would not support the candidate no matter how highly he might rate his character. There is also the factor of importance, or weight. Some things on both the character scale and the policy scale will be more important to individual voters and they should have the option of giving those things greater weight in arriving at their figure of merit.
As I wrote previously, Article II of the Constitution specifies that the president has two primary job functions: to serve as chief executive of the federal government, and to serve as commander in chief of the armed forces. In the latter role, the president has the authority to send troops into combat, as well as the power to decide whether to use nuclear weapons; awesome responsibilities. Our rating system should use this “job description” in considering how to rate our candidates: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (recent winner of the South Carolina primary), U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (winner of the New Hampshire primary), and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania (winner of the Iowa primary).
So, once again, how does a committed Republican decide who they want to support as the GOP nominee for President of the United States of America? I developed the following scheme with my best friend in mind. He’s a staunch Republican, a former Marine, and a person who considers me sadly misguided in all things political. He's also a decision analyst. Here’s how such a person might decide their candidate choice among the four remaining Republicans running.
First, for the CHARACTER measures, rank the measures by how important they are to you, from 1 (least important) to 5 (most important). You must prioritize the measures, e.g., they can't all be 5s. Then rate each candidate on how closely they demonstrate the characteristic on each measure, as follows: MINUS 2 - fails, MINUS 1 - poor, ZERO - average, ONE - above average, TWO - outstanding. Multiply the candidate's score on the measure by the measure's importance, add all results (retain the sign, positive or negative), and set that figure of merit aside while you score the policy measures.
CHARACTER
  1. (Importance: _____) Has a core set of principles that guide his life and the decisions he makes.
  2. (Importance: _____) Has the maturity and confidence to seek different viewpoints, to learn from his mistakes, accept blame, and share the credit for success with others.
  3. (Importance: _____) Has a strong moral compass, is able to master his “inner self” and execute self control at all times. Seldom or never gets his mouth in gear before engaging his brain.
  4. (Importance: _____) Is courageous, stays strong in the face of adversity, conveys strength and resolve, and inspires others.
  5. (Importance: _____) Is intelligent, farsighted, imaginative, in touch with popular sentiment, knowledgeable about key issues facing the Nation, and makes informed, well thought-out decisions.
For the POLICY measures you will be ranking the issues reflected in the statement according to how important they are to you, with 5 being most important and 1 being least important. Then you will rate the candidates on how closely they reflect the policy stipulated, as follows: MINUS 2 - definitely does not support, MINUS 1 - is non-committal,  ZERO - supports with major qualifications, ONE - supports with minor qualification, TWO - definitely supports without qualification. Now do the multiplication, importance by rating.


POLICY
  1. (Rank: _____) The Environmental Protection Agency should be eliminated and environmental regulations severely curtailed or eliminated. No unilateral action by the United States should be initiated concerning global warming, which in any case, hasn't been shown to be human caused.
  2. (Rank: _____) Roe vs Wade should be overturned, and a "personhood amendment" should be passed making abortion at any stage of conception, and for any reason, illegal. In addition, a constitutional amendment should be passed making marriage a strictly a union between a man and a woman.
  3. (Rank: _____) Corporations are JOB CREATORS and should be relieved of unnecessary and burdensome regulations, including repeal of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Corporate taxes should be eliminated, as they are simply passed on to consumers and thereby depress consumer spending.  should be repealed.
  4. (Rank: _____) The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") should be repealed and replaced with a common sense approach to reducing health care costs that includes tort reform and private health savings accounts.
  5. (Rank: _____) The United States must maintain a strong military and continue to project force aboard, including maintaining a significant presence in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East at large. Draconian cuts to military spending must be off the table. Under no circumstances should Iran be allowed to develop nuclear weapons and all means must be employed to prevent such a development.
Now multiply the results for Character by the results for Policy. The candidate with the highest total is your Republican nominee for president. Remember the sign, negative or positive, and that if you multiple a positive by a negative, the result is negative (by the same token, if you multiple a negative by a negative, the result is a positive, in which case, you've selected Barack Obama as your nominee).

To illustrate, I've arbitrarily ranked the Character traits and Policy issues as some "thoughtful" Republican might and then ranked the candidates based on what this fellow or gal might have learned to date about the four candidates' character and their stated policies. Here's what the hapless Republican came up with.

CHARACTER
Item
Import
1-least
5-most
Gingrich
Paul
Romney
Santorum
Rating
X
Rating
X
Rating
X
Rating
X
1
1
-2
-2
2
2
-2
-2
2
2
2
2
-2
-4
1
2
1
2
2
4
3
4
-2
-8
1
4
2
8
0
0
4
3
2
-6
1
3
0
0
0
0
5
5
1
5
-1
-5
1
5
-1
-5

Total

-15

6

13

1

POLICY

Item
Import
1-least
5-most
Gingrich
Paul
Romney
Santorum
Rating
X
Rating
X
Rating
X
Rating
X
1
1
1
1
2
2
1
1
2
2
2
2
-2
-4
-1
-2
1
2
2
4
3
4
2
8
2
8
1
4
2
8
4
3
2
6
2
6
2
6
2
6
5
5
2
10
-2
-10
0
0
1
5

Total

21

4

13

25

Multiplying Character totals by Policy totals yields the results below.


Gingrich
Paul
Romney
Santorum
-15*21
-315
6*4
24
13*13
169
1*25
25

Making Mitt Romney, the one person no "real" Republican seems to want, the "thoughtful" Republican's pick.

Now you try it. Rank the measures first, as you see their importance, then rate the Republican candidates on each measure, multiply ranking by rating, and total the five Character and then the five Policy columns. Then multiply Character by Policy and see who your pick would be. Record it in the Comments box below.

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