John Boehner: Salesman of the Year?

Last Updated Aug 2, 2011 8:21 AM EDT

Surprise, surprise! The person emerging from the debt debacle as the real leader is the guy who's got a background in sales. Point by point, House Speaker John Boehner has used the principles of consultative selling to create a workable solution, while his counterparts, both Republican and Democratic, have made every sales error in the books.

Take Obama, for instance. His idea of salesmanship can be summed up in the phrase: "It's time to eat your peas." Rather than creating a vision and a solution and then selling it as something positive, he came up with a tag line that was guaranteed to leave a bad taste in your mouth. He's like the clueless engineer who thinks that selling means treating your customer base like a brainless infant.

The Democratic leadership in congress were clueless in a completely different way. Confronted with the most obvious negotiation strategy -- stonewalling -- they got all namby-pamby, making concession after concession. But anybody with any sales experience whatsoever knows that giving in to a last minute demand is ALWAYS an invitation for a string of more. And that's exactly what they got. Dumb!

The Tea Party was stupid, from a sales perspective, in yet another way. By taking such dogmatic positions, they've ended up with a deal that is arguably less effective than some that were previously on the table. They remind me of the kind of marketing group that's determined to spout the same message over and over, even when the customer base (in the case the electorate) is actively unimpressed.

In the midst of all this unseemly insanity, Boehner has emerged like a beacon of common sense. While Obama and Cantor were throwing hissy fits, Boehner kept his cool. While everyone on both sides were crying "end of the world," Boehner was in the trenches, cajoling, dealing, and twisting arms. At every step, he's taken a practical approach and, unlike nearly everyone else, avoided making jackass comments and pointless pronouncements.

Boehner has worked with ALL the other players to craft a solution that, if it's not win-win, is at least lose-lose. Like the true sales professional that he is, Boehner got the job done.
So I say: Hats off to the good ol' boy from Ohio. And thank God that, amidst the lawyers, ideologues and rich kids in Congress, there's at least one plainspoken guy who understands how to sell.

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