Friday, February 05, 2010

Farouk Shami: First Do No Harm.

Medical doctors, since the beginning of their science, have been admonished by their philosophical progenitor, Hippocrates, about the ethics of their medical practice. The Hippocratic Oath, as it is called, was boiled down by French clinician Auguste Chomel to this choice phrase: Primum non nocere.

First, do no harm.

Ronald Reagan, much later, applied this medical dictum to his political colleagues in the GOP in his (appropriately for the Party of God) Eleventh Commandment:

“Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.”

Now while I don’t advocate this one hundred percent, and believe that a primary challenger should use what he or she can to get the voter to see reason in supporting them over their opponent, there are limits to how a fellow Democrat should act in this vein.

And I think that gubernatorial candidate wannabe Farouk Shami has just crossed over that line.

Farouk Shami should listen to sage voices of the past: First do no harm.

Do no harm, for instance, by using the Rasmussen Poll recently released that shows how Bill White, his opponent in the Democratic primary, will not win against any of the three Republicans who are competing for the same nomination in the Republican party.

According to the poll, as reported on Shami’s own campaign website, Bill White would be defeated by Rick Perry by 9 points, 48% to 39% (5% for another candidate and 8% undecided), by Kay Bailey by 13 points, 49% to 36% (7% another candidate, 7% undecided), and now also defeated by Medina, the Teabagger, by 3 points, 41% to 38% (6% other, 16% undecided).

Shami seems to gloat in this result.
"I may be an unconventional candidate but Texans are ready for some fresh ideas. That's evident in how Debra Medina's numbers are improving. The establishment needs to listen up, because Texas Democrats aren't buying the goods they are selling anymore"
And in doing so, Shami does a disservice to one who will undoubtedly be the Democratic nominee.

This poll will make enough news without Shami jumping on the bandwagon.

And really news is what this poll is all about. Newsworthiness is reason enough to doubt the poll.

Rasmussen, it seems, has evolved since its inception as Rasmussen Research. Rasmussen has become a self-promoting entity that thrives when its polling makes the news. Rasmussen has evolved to the extent that its polling is being driven toward what will make the biggest news splash.

The biggest news splash like how the Democrats are going to get a pasting in 2010.

Davie Weigel at the Washington Independent has it exact, I think:

“In the book [A Better Deal! Social Security Choice] — not a huge seller, but promoted by Rasmussen at an August appearance at the libertarian Cato Institute — the pollster argued that ‘giving workers more control over their ‘contributions’ will put the ‘Security’ back in Social Security.’”

“Since then, Rasmussen’s business has boomed, aided in no small part by those “newspaper” questions that are blasted out to reporters and frequently buck up the Republican spin of the week. ‘Every pollster wants to promote his own research,’ said Brent Goldrick. ‘It makes sense for Rasmussen to promote questions that are more newsworthy.’”

In short, Shami uses a poll that was constructed to get a response in tune with what would make a great headline. A headline with the name Rasmussen in it.

Shami, in short, prostitutes himself to Rasmussen, who is the pimp. Rasmussen displays his wares, Shami snaps up the Johns.

Shami neglects to mention how he himself would do in a race against any of these three Republicans. You know why? No one has done a poll on that.

That poll wouldn’t be very newsworthy, would it.


Marsha said...

Hal,I never heard of Dr. Shami until a month or so ago. He has very little name recognition VS Bill White, the Hero to Thousands of Louisiana Katrina refuges. That is the difference between night and day. I suggest if Dr. Shami likes politics then he had better start at the local level where we need to build leaders to learn to lead locally before leading the State and then the Nation.

Doctor put your ego in your hip pocket for now, you are out of your class!

Anonymous said...

Farouk cannot start from the bottom and work himself up the ladder - he needs to be in charge. If Farouk does not like the message, he'll fire the messanger.

Farouk’s management philosophy includes
• “I conceived it, thus it’s done”, i.e. making a decision tonight and fully expecting it to be implemented before he even talks to anyone – it works in a small entrepreneurial organization where he has the total control and it is his own money – However, how would it work in our democratic form of government?
• In his culture (and business practice) – “cousins” (anyone with Middle Eastern heritage) make no mistakes and family “walks on water” , i.e. the actual professional qualifications are secondary in his mind