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Will and "Lean Six Sigma" Change GOP Presidential Politics?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Four years ago the Fair Tax movement helped power Mike Huckabee to a win in the Iowa caucuses. The former Arkansas governor embraced the scheme and all of its absurd assumptions –the Constitution could be amended to repeal the 17thAmendment, senior citizens wouldn’t mind having many of their assets devalued overnight etc—and reaped the political benefits.


The Fair Tax has lost a lot of its initial appeal over the past four years as closer looks revealed the scheme’s many flaws and its tricke- up math.  (Full disclosure: I am the co-author of one of those analyses, The Fair Tax Fantasy, with Hank Adler.) There are still enthusiastic proponents, like my pal Neil Boortz, but the energy in the movement and their numbers are greatly diminished, with much of the earnest zeal to strike a blow at the bloated federal government absorbed into the much broader and far more serious Tea Party agenda of reform.


But the Fair Tax’s impact on Iowa in 2008 should alert MSM to the possibility of similar grassroots efforts having enormous consequences in the relatively small confines of an early caucus state, and also in the early primary states of New Hampshire and South Carolina.  This year the organizational candidate to play that role is and its demand for the application of Lean Six Sigma to every corner of the federal government.


On Saturday Mike George’s plan for Iowa begins to unfold in earnest at the Deficit Free America Summit at the Polk County Convention Complex.  George is one of the creators of Lean Six Sigma, and the engine behind StrongAmericaNow.comwhich is the organization pushing the GOP presidential candidates to get very serious about deficit reduction very fast.  Lean Six Sigma is a widely used and often very effective process for reducing waste and increasing efficiency and thus productivity in business settings and sometimes even in government and the not-for-profit world. 


A great deal of background on Lean Six Sigma and a variety of case studies on its application can be found at website, but the political bottom line is that George and his allies have tapped into the public’s sincere demand that the federal deficit be ended soon, the government made to live within its means, and the national debt begun to be paid down.  They have crafted a pledge and they are asking the GOP presidential candidates to take it.

Candidates are being asked promise “to eliminate spending deficits and start paying down the national debt by 2017 by deploying Lean Six Sigma waste reduction methods to detect and eliminate 25 percent of spending per year across the federal government,” and also “to attend two days of training on the Lean Six Sigma method and complete a waste reduction project prior to my inauguration.”

Newt Gingrich has signed the pledge, and Tim Pawlenty has spoken favorably of the Lean Six Sigma approach, and the attention on the issue has just begun. has also transparently put forward its political plan:


We have built the most powerful grass roots effort in Iowa because it is the first Primary State. We will have 50,000 people who commit to only support candidates who endorse the Strong America Now program. These candidates will be invited to address Iowans at Strong America Now’s Debt Free America Summit

With this strength of 50,000 Iowans who have signed our pledge, only those candidates who support our program can win in the Iowa Caucuses. We are now building grass roots organizations in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida ….and ultimately your state.  We need you to sign our Pledge and volunteer to support Strong America Now in your state, sign-up and volunteer today!

More than 15,000 Iowans have already signed on to the plan and have promised only to support candidates who take the pledge.  Mike Huckabee won Iowa with 41,000 votes.  The math suggests that George has already reached critical mass.


I will be at the summit tomorrow, and will moderate the key panel which brings together some of the most accomplished Lean Six Sigma experts in the country.  Throughout the day various of the GOP presidential hopefuls will also appear to make their pitch to the hundreds of activists who are deploying throughout the Hawkeye State to put this simple agenda forward and make it a part of the caucus debate and beyond that the New Hampshire primary vote.  It is the largest gathering of Iowa activists yet in this cycle, and it is just the beginning of George’s plan.


MSM remains largely unaware of the effort or its effectiveness, but even the late-rising and last-to-the-dance veterans of the dinosaur media will figure it out soon enough.  There’s a new deficit sheriff in town, and he’s intent on getting the presidential candidates to think about making the federal government follow the models that have worked again and again in the private sector.

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