July 7, 2022

Once news organizations became profit centers instead of a public mission, we took a major hit to democracy. Now Peter Jennings and Ted Koppel have been replaced with the latest marketing campaigns -- like this one, where we're supposed to accept that Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin is a "reasonable Republican."

Well, in the Valley of the Blind, the one-eyed man is king.

As someone who's spent a lot of time around political operatives, I wish more people understood that campaign managers really do see the whole process as more of a marketing case study. They don't ask themselves "Is this person good for democracy?" They think, "This guy has a good story. I can sell this."

In other words, it's more like "Shark Tank."

And they're counting on the short attention span of the typical American consumer. There's very little thought about the ideals of democracy: They have something to sell, and they want you to buy it.

But that's why God made bloggers! We are the annoying repositories of all kinds of arcane knowledge and when a topic comes up, we say, "But what about this?"

Random thoughts: Did you know that until his election, Glenn Youngkin was the co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, that shining model of corporate integrity? (Can you even imagine a Democrat pulling off this trick?) Not to mention their part in the subprime mortgage collapse.

But that's the esoteric "business as usual" stuff. Are we supposed to just forget the full-fledged racist and gender hysteria he ginned up over CRT, the fake controversy that put him in the governor's mansion? Or his refusal during the GOP primary to admit that Joe Biden didn't steal the election?

I'm going to say something that's probably considered naive by the Villagers: The choices a candidate makes in a campaign tells us whether he or she has a moral center.

Now, I'm not saying that's the only thing, or even the main thing. But it's an important thing. Because the more willing candidates are to go along with the degradation of democracy during the campaign, the more willing they are to justify it when they're in office.

Here's something that may or may not have something to do with that. Back when I was an executive recruiter for Fortune 500 companies, I was surprised to hear this from CEOS: "Don't send me anyone with a Harvard MBA." I heard it so often, from so many people, that I finally had to ask why.

"Because they're steeped in the Harvard culture," one explained. "They hire their friends, and then they don't hold them accountable. They have credentials and they think it's a substitute for actually doing the job."

Remember who else had a Harvard MBA? George W. Bush. I warned about him for the same reason.

And finally: No, we do not need someone "who will run government like a business." We had that with Bush, and we had it with Trump. They wrecked the economy and got us into all kinds of trouble. I can't emphasize this enough: The government is nothing like a business.

Businesses cut corners. Business leaders believe in "better to ask forgiveness than permission." But government is primarily a regulatory organization, and we already know what happens when you have a president who thinks otherwise.

Glenn Youngkin? When it comes to Republicans, it's only a matter of style. Reject him.

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