Friday, October 8


I was in an almost-all-day-meeting today with marketing directors from our commercial construction operation and the consulting company advising us. The energy generated...the in-depth probing into the consequences of specific responses to challenges as well as possible adverse consequences...the give-and-take in intense seeking of resolutions regarding competing interests...and the amazingly creative solutions resulting, all reminded me of what is lacking in the Bush administration.

In Bush World, only happy talk is acceptable. Insular thinking is the norm. It all reminds me of "What's good for General Bullmoose is good for the USA" (for the too-young, that's a song title from the Broadway musical Li'l Abner). That was a song completely analogous with the Bush theme, "What's good for our business cronies and super-rich buddies is good for the USA." But that's typical of the BushCo mindset -- it's all so simple: tax cuts and business incentives (read: tax cuts) are a tide that "will lift all boats." No negative voices are welcomed, we've made up our ideology (oh excuse me, minds).

In big business, challenges in strategic planning processes are necessary, not optional or counter-productive. They are viewed as a goad to our assumptions and facilitate deeper thinking. Why and how else do consulting companies such as Bain, McKinsey, and Boston Consulting Group make their money? It's not for nothing that the saying, "Two heads are better than one" has become an adage. BushCo doesn't understand, or profit, from this generally accepted principle. In Bush World, consensus is defined as "compromise," and for the ideologically obsessed, compromise is anathema. But compromise is basic to the American system of democracy: "Majority rules, minority rights." Politics is the art of compromise, and frankly, the older I get, the more I see the value of compromise. Compromise, to idealogues, is a tool of Satan. Compromise, however, is the lifeblood of civil government. It is not necessarily a dilution of the "correct" to placate or deter the attack of the "incorrect" -- in practical matters, it is a way to reach consensus...and among people of good intentions, consensus is not a dirty word. It is a path to effective action, action that is supported by all parties. We build from there.

UPDATE: Usually, I read Paul Krugman early the day his column comes out. This morning, I went from sleeping to the office in 15 minutes plus commute, and then was out of pocket the whole day in meetings. I finally get to him late this afternoon, and he makes my point better than I could.


Post a Comment

<< Home