It was the late and legendary Harold Geneen, who coined the phrase, as he was referring to one of his (former) subordinates: “He suffered from paralysis by analysis.” Geneen, an admitted workaholic, raised ITT Corporation’s sales from $700 million to $17 billion, and its profits from $29 million to $550 million, during his 18-year tenure as CEO.
Ross Perot, another titan of industry, would describe this phenomenon slightly differently when he compared his company, Electronic Data Systems, to the giant that eventually bought it, General Motors.
“I come from an environment where, if you see a snake, you kill it. At GM, if you see a snake, the first thing you do is go hire a consultant on snakes. Then you get a committee on snakes, and then you discuss it for a couple of years. The most likely course of action is—nothing. You figure the snake hasn’t bitten anybody yet, so you just let him crawl around on the factory floor.”
Surely, there are occasions when a careful study of an issue is warranted. There are also times when some within the organization believe that it is time for action. And, there are times when calls for further study are a deliberate tactic to avoid any action, or worse, cause harm. Perhaps, you are now thinking of the weapons inspection saga in Iraq.
It is bad enough when transparent lowlifes like Tom Daschle, who supported military action in Iraq under both Clinton and the current administration, are now playing politics on the very eve of war. But it truly boggles the mind when a bilious no-talent miscreant like Ted Kennedy drones on about waiting for United Nations approval, when in 1991 he opposed action in Iraq despite UN approval. Whom does he think he’s kidding?
Not that the situation in Iraq is the only example of these pitiful and flagrant political obstructionist maneuvers. The Washington Post, hardly a conservative newspaper, was positively extravagant in its condemnation of Democratic party tactics in the matter of Miguel Estrada’s nomination to the US Court of Appeals.
[B]ut the Estrada filibuster is different from any nomination fight in recent history, for Senate Democrats are not merely opposed to Mr. Estrada. They are engaged in a kind of extortion: Mr. Estrada, they say, must answer more questions, and the administration must produce his confidential memos from his days in the Justice Department, or he gets no vote. It is not hard to imagine what mischief a determined minority might make once this stance becomes accepted as legitimate. Why not ask for a nominee’s memos to the judge for whom he clerked? What about his college admissions essay? Why not demand a written statement declaring his view of every Supreme Court case from last term?
Abraham Lincoln once said, “We cannot ask a man what he will do [on the court], and if we should, and he should answer us, we should despise him for it.” Today’s very different standards are remarkable and disturbing. Not only is declaring one’s positions on matters of judicial controversy no longer a matter of opprobrium, 44 senators now positively demand it. Each escalation in the battle to control the courts has augured badly for a judiciary that should be insulated from politics. This one is particularly dangerous.
As bad as the visible effects of this excessive analysis can be, the hidden effects are even worse. Endless contemplation of a problem can lead one into dangerous overcompensation, whereby goodwill is attributed to the other side, when it does not in fact exist. What follows is the denial of evil, and abdication of personal reponsibility.
Just another indictment of the criminal Left.