In the business world there is a concept called the “Peter Principle.” Most of us have heard of it and many have witnessed it.
The Peter Principle promotes the idea that eventually some people will rise to the level of their incompetence; the performance plateau of their own abilities. Incompetence may seem like a harsh word, but it is factually correct. There are times when people are just not suited for the job they are in, or the job they are seeking.
Looking at politics today, it is clear the Peter Principle is in full effect. Gov. Maggie Hassan was a marginal state senator, has been an ineffective governor and would be a terrible U.S. senator.
I believe Hassan is a good person and in general areas she is concerned about other people. I am not implying Hassan is incapable in every one of her endeavors. However, an objective review of her performance record clearly indicates she has risen above her appropriate political station. To promote her to U.S. senator would be a continuation of her ability to “fail up.” Hassan has shown herself to be a poor leader, prone to extreme political views and incapable of bi-partisan leadership.
Too often our society, especially with some voters, promotes the persistent incompetents, the “good” people who are way out of their league, but have the innate tenacity to advance. Eventually in business, a person’s incompetence catches up to them, but in politics we seem to continue to reward politicians based on political dogmas instead of actual accomplishment. I have written several times about Gov. Hassan’s failures, but as some consider “promoting” her to a position she is ill-suited for, it is important to review her abysmal track record.
As a state senator, Hassan presented the ill-conceived LLC tax. The LLC tax was in short an oppressive income tax on New Hampshire small business, the backbone of the state’s economy. This excessive tax unfairly punished existing small businesses, while creating an environment that deterred entrepreneurs from starting new businesses in the state. Then-Sen. Hassan’s income tax plan was so disastrous it was eventually repealed and cost Hassan her Senate seat. Yet despite this failure, some voters decided to promote her to governor.
As governor, Hassan introduced her first budget that contained receipts from gambling, even though gambling was not legal in New Hampshire, and in fact had been rejected over and over again by the state’s citizens. This funding ploy was so absurd Finance Chair Mary Wallner (a member of Gov. Hassan’s own party), scoffed at the budgeting ruse, calling it a “mistake” to include these imaginary funds. Wallner and others went about creating a serious budget, sans funny money for non-existent gambling revenues.
Having not learned from her first budget fiasco, Gov. Hassan vetoed the most recent budget that was passed by the House and the Senate. This budget was so insignificantly different from the budget the governor proposed that many expressed political motivation was the only plausible explanation for the veto (http://tinyurl.com/hassanfail). Because you see, Hassan was already looking to her next job.
The budget Hassan vetoed languished for several months, denying much needed funding to fight the drug crisis. However, that was not her only misstep regarding the drug epidemic. Her drug czar, Jack Wozmak, a political appointee, was absent on the job. Law enforcement and social services across the state complained Wozmak was doing little to nothing to help with the drug plight that was affecting all state communities. Instead of taking swift action, Hassan eventually allowed Wozmak to resign, when she should have immediately replaced him with a person truly committed to solving the issue.
It is laughable when I see ads where Hassan tries to take credit for the success of the past two budgets, when her missteps created only chaos. Hassan touts that she “balanced the budget,” ignoring the fact it is a constitutional requirement, and was the result of the hard work by the House and Senate. Hassan must think voters are fools when she runs an ad taking credit for the success of New Hampshire small businesses, when it was her dreadful LLC tax plan that almost destroyed them. The height of folly is when Hassan tries to portray herself as bi-partisan, when time after time she has shown little to no interest in working with the opposing party.
The only time Hassan seems to be able to bring both parties together is when they need to correct her mistakes or remind her of her failures. The LLC tax repeal was a bi-partisan effort by politicians, small business and state citizens. That was strike one. Hassan was reprimanded by her own party when she introduced her first budget that relied on faulty accounting and inserted non-existent funds. Strike two. Hassan was recently chastised by the media, general public and behind the scenes by members of her own party for her politically motivated veto of the state’s most recent budget. Strike three.
Where as in business and baseball, most of us would be out, Hassan took another swing at failure. Cited by all sides for her gross mishandling of the devastating drug crisis that has swept New Hampshire, Hassan demonstrated again that she lacks the leadership needed for the job she had been hired to fulfill. Strike four.
There are far more than four strikes, yet Hassan has the audacity to stand before the citizens of New Hampshire asking for a promotion. It’s Hassan failing up once again.
Politics in America is the perfect end product of the Peter Principle and Hassan is a living testament to that. She reached her political plateau as a state senator, yet managed to keep advancing. For the betterment of New Hampshire, let’s hope voters realize she is a failed leader who has not earned the title of U.S. senator from New Hampshire.