Ten years ago, during the long summer campaign that would lead up to the Clinton-Dole showdown, I found myself having brandies at a local club with a savvy captain of industry. Ever the CEO, he surveyed the field of candidates in the primaries and said grimly: “I don’t see one guy I’d choose to run my company.”
The notion has stuck with me ever since. The often emotional issue of choosing one politician over another is essentially a matter of choosing a management team. So who’s going to do a better job at helping to guide America Inc.? Shays or Farrell? Lieberman or Lamont?
According to Tip O’Neill’s famous dictum, all politics is local. The coming congressional election is really local as these four candidates are our neighbors. Among my Republican friends, half of them are defensive about being loyal to the Bush Administration and half are truly angry. The Democrats, of course, are furious. And the apathetic people are now twice as apathetic.
The nation is in danger of resembling one of those corporations that my CEO friend would talk about — a big, lumbering behemoth that’s losing its way.
We need the kind of vision and courage that sent Nixon to China, that drove Reagan to face off with Gorbachev, and that impelled Carter and Clinton to force peace accords on the Middle East players.
Whomever we send to Washington, D.C., better fight to see an intelligent use of American power. The world needs it. Our economy requires it. Our national spirit could sure use it.
Whether you’re backing the incumbents, who’ve done some good things in the past, or going for Diane Farrell’s and Ned Lamont’s fresh energy, I do hope you get the message across to these ambitious neighbors of ours — get down to Washington, D.C., and do some serious tail-kicking.