Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Worst Resume in the World

Whenever you see the phrases “best in the world” or “worst in the world”, they are almost certainly hyperbole.  But not always.

For example, it would be defensible to say that the best resume in the world would look something like:
Albert Einstein
Dude, just Google “Albert Einstein 1905”

At the other extreme, the worst resume in the world just may belong to James A. Johnson.

Mr. Johnson came to my attention via the C-SPAN program Q&A (which I download and listen to as a podcast).  Brian Lamb was interviewing New York Times journalist Gretchen Morgenson about her book, “Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Created the Worst Financial Crisis of Our Time.” 

Morgenson laid a large share of the blame for the 2008 financial crisis at the feet of James A. Johnson, who was the Chairman of Fannie Mae from 1991-1998.  According to Morgenson, Mr. Johnson put in place many of the policies that led to the eventual collapse of the mortgage lending giant (it was eventually bailed out and taken over by the federal government).

As impressive as it is to be the man most responsible for nearly destroying the world economy, that, in and of itself, would not be enough to give Mr. Johnson the worst resume in the world.  But there is also this: Mr. Johnson was campaign manager for Walter Mondale’s 1984 presidential campaign.

But wait, there’s even more!  In 2004 he was tapped by John Kerry to chair his vice presidential selection committee – where he identified John Edwards as the Democrat best suited to beimg one heartbeat away from the most powerful office in the world.

Based on that success, he was asked to lead Barack Obama's vice presidential selection committee, but controversy over his tenure at Fannie Mae forced him to step down.  The mind reels when one speculates on who would now be Vice President had Mr. Johnson managed to stay on as head of the selection committee.

Just one of those “accomplishments” would be enough to sink any resume.  With three of them, one would expect that Mr. Johnson would be living on public assistance somewhere, quickly changing the subject whenever someone asked him what he did for a living.

But no, Mr. Johnson remains gainfully employed and is on the board of directors for Goldman Sachs and Target Corp.

One can only conclude that while Mr. Johnson has the world’s WORST resume, he has the world’s BEST resume writer.  I imagine it must be spinned something like this:

James A. Johnson

I am seeking a seat on a corporate board of directors or as head of a vice presidential selection committee.

University of Minnesota, B.A. of Political Science, 1966
Princeton University, Master of Public Affairs, 1968

Delivering the electoral votes of the District of Columbia to the Democrats
Delivering the electoral votes of Minnesota to the Democrats
Jedi-like ability to get the weak-minded to do what I want

Campaign Manager for Walter Mondale’s Presidential Campaign, 1984
·         Improved upon the 12 electoral votes Democrat Stephen A. Douglas won in the 1860 election
·         Would have carried Puerto Rico if it had been a state
·         Managed to convince 37,577,352 Americans that Walter Mondale would make a better President than Ronald Reagan

Chairman, Freddie Mac, 1991-1998
·         Made a lot of money (for myself)
·         Expanded home ownership to millions of Americans who couldn’t afford it
·         Shrewd enough to get out long before the house of cards collapsed
·         Had nothing to do with anything that happened in Greece

Chair, John Kerry’s Vice Presidential Selection Committee, 2004
·         Identified a successful politician from North Carolina
·         Hey, a lot of other people were fooled too
·         Candidate selected was never actually convicted of anything

Chair Barack Obama’s Vice Presidential Selection Committee, 2008
·         Resigned before Joe Biden was selected