This past Friday I was at a business event outside of Philadelphia sponsored by a local bank. There were more than 100 business owners there, most of them senior executives at companies that employ 50 people or more. Small--but not mom and pop.
As part of the event, the organizers took a Presidential election secret straw poll and told me the results. Some two-thirds of the executives polled said they were voting for Mitt Romney.
I asked one executive, a very successful business owner, what he thought of the numbers. He wasn't surprised. "The President seems like a good guy," he said. "And I don't agree with all of the Republicans' social policies. I also think that no one knows which man's economic policies are better or worse. There's data, and there's gut. I run my business on both. And as a businessman and an employer, I just feel more comfortable with Mitt Romney in office."
Governor Romney had (literally) 500 economists that support his plan for growing the economy and reducing the deficit. President Obama had (literally) 500 economists that support his plan to do the same. Do either of them really know? Do these expert, academic, highly-intelligent economists really know? No, they don't know. No one knows.
So, as a business owner, all I can do is judge by what I know. Governor Romney can live 800 lives without running out of money. Why does he want to be President? He has successfully run businesses. He has governed a state. He grew up in a household watching his father run a large automobile company, and also govern a state. He is older. He has successfully managed organizations with opposing factions. Will he do the same as President? I don't know. But, based on his past, I have to assume he will.
Like the guy at the conference last Friday, I can only judge by what I know, and what my gut tells me. That's how I run my business too. That's how I make decisions.
I like President Obama. I agree with many of his social policies. But his narrow victory does not give him a mandate. Congress remains divided. The country remains divided. I felt like we needed a Governor, not a politician. Like all Americans, I now hope President Obama will rise to the occasion.