Why does Gingrich keep name-dropping Lean Six Sigma?
Newt Gingrich has been criticized for selling his own books at campaign events. He has been criticized for selling his services as a lobbyist for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac while trying to obscure his true role. Add one more bit of suspect behavior that may just not pass the smell test. On the campaign trail observers may have noticed he has routinely touted something called "Lean Six Sigma" as a solution to much of what ails America. This is a business management concept pioneered by a Dallas businessman who also happens to be a major funder of a Super-PAC backing...you guessed it...Newt Gingrich.
Julie Bykowicz writes at Bloomberg News:
Gingrich has uttered the term "Lean Six Sigma" at least 28 times since August in campaign appearances, debates and media interviews, a review of transcripts and news accounts shows. At the same time, Mike George, the investor who has written six books on Lean Six Sigma, paid for mailings, handouts and automated phone calls backing Gingrich in the Iowa caucuses and South Carolina primary last month.
George's financial support comes through a political action committee, Strong America Now, which he created and solely funds. The dynamic illustrates a new way for wealthy individuals to leverage the high visibility of a presidential election as a public-relations tool for a specific company, product or message.
Can one imagine the "free advertising" (well not so free but it appears to be free to listeners) that comes from a leading GOP candidate for the President touting a business system as a solution to eliminating waste? When ads run on TV or in newspapers when spokesman tout a product or service there is often a tag line that admits the testimonials are paid advertising. Every time Gingrich mentions this concept -- and there have been at least 28 campaign mentions since August -- the fortunes of Mike George enjoy greener prospects. Word of mouth is often the best form of advertising because it seems as if it is not bought and sold.
This is one more example that Gingrich plays very fast and loose with rules and ethics. Sadly, it is also one more example of a flim-flam man who sells his services to the highest bidder.
Would that Gingrich be at least as honest as the companies that sell schlock on television late at night and admit the relationship between the man behind the PAC and his Republican spokesman.
But Gingrich is not alone in being tied to Mike George. Before George set up the Super-PAC he ran a similar non-profit group whose main mission was to:
"secure pledges from all of the presidential candidates that they would use Lean Six Sigma principles to reduce the deficit. "Pledged" candidates commit to attending a two-day Lean Six Sigma training seminar before inauguration day and ending the deficit by 2017.
As of yet no evidence has come to light that George's Super-PAC has also extended money to the Santorum and Paul campaign.
But this is just one more slippery and oily campaign tactic that can give Republicans (as well as Democrats) a bad name. Think Progress is already blasting this news out and we can expect major media to pick up on the story within days.
Don't we have enough cynicism among the American electorate? Do politicians and the businessmen who ply them with money have to stoke even more?