7.11.2009

All-Star Picks and All-Too-Common Snubs


How many times have we seen this happen? Vastly qualified candidate gets passed up for the ideally suited political position, because the administration is more interested in rewarding someone or some group, or else in not pissing off someone or some group, than in getting the best person for the job.

I'm not so naive that I don't acknowledge the role of politicking in politics; I'm just pointing out that this aspect of politics may be the very reason our best leaders are not drawn to this industry. In case you're wondering, I'm not referring to any particular situation, although I will note that for all the examples we have of this in our own country, it is much, much worse in most other countries.

You're probably not at all wondering what my take is on three Phillies being named All-Stars by Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, but I'll give it to you anyway: good for Charlie. If you haven't been following, Shane Victorino won his way in fair and square via online fan voting (although it took both our Governor and Mayor stumping for him), and Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth were pegged by Charlie despite other candidates at their respective positions perhaps meriting selection over them.

To which I say again: good for Charlie. Hey, the All-Star Game is just a glorified exhibition, so if Charlie wants to use it to reward and honor his players, who he has to spend the rest of the year managing and cajoling and motivating, more power to him.

Charlie has a right to do that as the National League's manager. And presidents, governors, mayors, and other executives have some leeway, in my book, to make some hires based on their own personal preferences. But when that delicate balance gets tilted such that filling slots is predominantly about rewarding or appeasing and less and less about screening for qualified candidates, you'll not find me shocked when that jurisdiction's best leaders say no thanks to careers in government.
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