I didn’t vote for Eric Greitens although he had a pretty good shtick. He promised to “shake things up” in Jefferson City and, God knows, the GOP political culture he’ll be heading up needs to be not only shaken up, but fumigated.
However, one doesn’t necessarily expect a novice to know how to go about effectively shaking things up. He calls himself an “outsider” which is probably true, but in his case seemed to be no more than a tacit acknowledgement that he didn’t know boo about how to be a big-time manager, which is what a Governor is. Shooting a big gun, or even running a charity just isn’t the same thing.
And Greitens evidently agrees that he is not up to he job he was hired to do. He’s going to hire a Chief Operating Officer (COO) to hold his hand and lead him along the governing path. According to senior advisor Austin Chambers (who, speaking of inexperience, is only 21 years old – but, hey, he’s a “savant,” or so they say):
“They [the COO] are an outsider who is coming in from the business world,” he said, adding that the person is from Missouri and may volunteer their services. “It’s an outsider who is going to come in and shake things up.”
Don’t assume from the plural personal pronoun and verb Mr. Chamber used that there will be more than one COO – I assume he was trying to avoid giving the gender of the appointee away. Or he just talks that way.
Anyway, it looks like we elected an inexperienced opportunist to the most important job in the state and he’s going to essentially delegate it to an unelected business person – somebody who’s so eager to get his/her hands on the state’s power steering mechanisms that he/she may even volunteer. It would be interesting, after the person is named, to learn if he/she is behind any of those great big loads of the folding green that Greitens pulled in. Or if he/she is closely associated with any of the local big political spenders. Of course, given the way campaign money is accounted for in Missouri, we may never know.
The editorial board of the EMissorian laid it all out way back in October when Greitens brought up his intention to hire a COO:
We have heard Eric Greitens, Republican candidate for governor, speak three times. With each appearance, his shallowness in knowledge of government was apparent. He lacks a clear plan on how he would face up to issues and work to solve problems.
We were floored when in a debate at Branson with his chief opponent, Democrat Chris Koster, the former Navy SEAL said if elected he would hire a Fortune 500 type of executive to be the chief operating officer for the state. Koster reminded him that the governor is the chief operating officer. That’s the governor’s job
To hire a COO gives the impression that he doesn’t want to be bothered with day-to-day operations. Would he spend time as governor preparing to run for the U.S. Senate or even president? Some years ago he reserved websites with his name as a candidate for president and also for U.S. senator.
So the new Missouri Governor, who rode Donald Trump’s coattails into office, is going to farm out the difficult and, no doubt, boring parts of the job just like The Donald seems poised to do. Is this a new trend in GOP political circles? We get a twofer, a front man and the power behind the throne?
But don’t worry. We are assured that the guy running the state is going to shake things up one way or another. The question is who’s going to be doing the shaking and to whom.