Rockets GM Daryl Morey Has A Counterintuitive And Analytic Reason For Giving Money To Mitt Romney

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Mitt Romney is not a really popular guy, except in the Cayman Islands. Lots of people like him because he's not Barack Obama, and lots of people like him because his party's platform aligns with their personal views, but no one really seems to like Mitt for his essential Mittness. But Daryl Morey, the Houston Rockets general manager and onetime relentless booster of Carl Landry, Jeremy Lin, and Aaron Brooks, says we ought to dig Romney for exactly that.


Here's Marc Tracy at TNR:

Morey's technocratic bent would suggest that he ought to support Obama, the level-headed, technocratic, "whether [government] works" president, who as a candidate in 2008 ran a Moneyball-style campaign. So why is he donating to Romney?


We should pause here to quibble briefly with this account of things. Obama is the technocrat who consults experts—academics, reformers, people who went to Harvard for undergrad or their PhDs. Romney is the technocrat who consults consultants—people who went to Harvard for business school.

Morey didn't go to Harvard, but he did attend the business school across town, at MIT. Where was Morey working before the Celtics hired him? At the Parthenon Group, a consulting firm in Boston. Where was Chris Jenny, the current president of the Parthenon Group, a partner before he jumped ship? Bain and Company, where a fresh-faced Mitt started in 1977. Not all level-headed technocracy is created equal. Moving on.

Actually, let's not move on:

Surprisingly, the answer has little to do with Romney's positions, many of which "I disagree strongly with," Morey said in an email (one data point: he recently officiated at a same-sex wedding). Unsurprisingly, Morey's support—and he is no late-bloomer; he gave his first $1,000 in May 2011 and his largest amount, $5,000, in January, when Newt Gingrich was surging—derives from a counterintuitive theory of how people should determine which candidates they support.

"I believe people focus too much on policy when making political decisions and not enough on selecting the best leader for the country," Morey wrote. A sports analogy? Why not! "I would not select a head coach primarily because I agree with his choices for pick and roll coverage. I would select a coach who I thought would be the best leader of the team. His XO coaching philosophy would be important to the selection but not the most important selection criteria."

As evidence that Romney would prove the superior leader, Morey cited the "significantly more experience leading effectively" Romney has had, over a "diverse set of organizations." Mr. Romney: the whole Bain thing has not totally backfired after all.


The Bain thing works if you believe—as Morey and his sea of dorks at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference do—that white guys in suits with a business-school tool kit always know what's best. Problems are problems, and white MBA guys in suits are the world's best-trained problem-solvers. Under this theory, Mitt Romney has the ideal skill set to lead the country. Also under this theory, Daryl Morey's teams shouldn't keep losing to the ones managed by executives whose main experience is playing or coaching basketball, like R.C. Buford or Pat Riley.


NBA Players Back Obama, But One Smart Exec Is For Romney [TNR]