Letter: Wanted: A wise chief executive
January 15, 2016
Though Aspen is no longer my home, I continue to read Aspen papers to keep up on your goings-on. A favorite read is Melanie Sturm's "Think Again." This week's column ended with a wonderful line: "Since elections are designed to punish failures and reward success, may 2016 reveal a statesman capable of delivering the legitimate government Americans deserve."
The list of failures to be punished this election has grown for more htan 20 years, and there really is great anger at the incompetence that radiates from Washington, D.C. The president's behavior mirrors that of Nero, who reputably fiddled while Rome burned.
Congress and its members refuse to exhibit leadership and instead hide behind partisanship. When President Richard Nixon lied, his own party forced him out of office. But 20 years later when President Bill Clinton lied, and worse destroyed a young, female intern, his party protected him. When President Barack Obama and his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, lied to the entire nation, blaming a terrorist attack in Benghazi on a hapless fool's amateur video, for a brief two days, I heard public skepticism — and then the media accepted the lie and perpetuated it.
Call the people who are now supporting blunt, truth-speaking Donald Trump (and Ted Cruz) angry if you like, but let me share what I learned during my eight years as an elected official.
The elected really do become isolated. Their reality does warp to conform into a world of bureaucracy and special interests. The public assumes its representative is busy, so it doesn't bother the elected until it is upset. This leads the elected to discount the public because when it does speak, it is with anger.
Great executives such as George Washington or Steve Jobs can direct and manage any product. And government is a product. Trump was made the star of a TV show that taught young executives how to succeed in business because he was a hugely successful executive, charismatic with a sharp, quick mind and tongue.
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Cruz rose on skill to the top of the lawyer trade, arguing in front of the Supreme Court. Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina also were hugely successful executives.
But the rest of likely contenders are career elected, and their resume high points are their elections. Getting elected is a skill. But as we are learning, it is not a skill that necessarily translates to wise or successful statesmanship.
Former Pitkin County commissioner, Aptos, California