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The weekly Daley: Politics: A funny business

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From page A6 | November 02, 2012 | 14 Comments

I have to take issue with my buddy Chuck Norris. In Wednesday’s editorial, Chuck wrote a glowing endorsement of Mitt Romney based on his, Romney’s, business acumen. He said business acumen is critical for the president and only someone with extensive, successful business experience would have it. By contrast, he lambasted President Obama for having spent his adult life in the public sector, and ergo, he couldn’t possibly be qualified to oversee the nation’s business — for another four years.

The current economic crisis arguably began during George W. Bush’s tenure. George W. Bush had an MBA from Harvard, and he was in the oil business for awhile and co-owned a pro sports franchise. He had a lot of business experience, way more than any president in modern history that I can remember.

John McCain, by contrast, candidate for president in 2008, back when the current economic crisis was unfolding, spent his entire adult life in the public sector. Chuck Norris failed to mention that back when he endorsed Sen. McCain after endorsing Mike Huckabee (a successful minister and governor if not a successful businessman or entrepreneur). Mr. McCain, as I recall might have spent a year working in his wife’s family’s beer empire somewhere along the way, but 99 percent of his professional experience was funded by the American taxpayer.

Bill Clinton had no business experience that anyone has ever mentioned. The economy was pretty stable and thriving for much of his time in office. George H.W. Bush was director of the CIA, a fighter pilot in WWII and did a lot of other government work before becoming vice president and then president. I’m pretty sure he was not elected on the basis of his business acumen. After all, he’d been out of normal life for so long that he didn’t even know what a grocery store scanner was. And Bill Clinton (with none or unknown business acumen) beat him in 1992 when it was “the economy stupid.”

Ronald Reagan, of course, was in the movie business and marketing as an actor, not as a business man per se. He had no particular experience in the private sector a la Romney and Bush the younger. There were some really tough economic times during the 1980s. I remember being unemployed for about a year and a half during some of that time. No one ever praised President Reagan for his outstanding success in a long career in business.

Jimmy Carter had considerable experience in the peanut growing business. Things weren’t all that great economically speaking while he was president. Gerald Ford. I don’t remember, but I think he was mainly a politician, maybe a lawyer in private practice for a few years.

Richard Nixon. Now there was a non-business sort. Congressman, vice president. Like Ford, he probably had a law practice for a while, but business acumen was not what got him elected and re-elected. There was war going on throughout Nixon’s presidency. Defense spending is good for business, they say. But for some reason, having business experience didn’t factor in to the requirements for president.

Lyndon Johnson had a big ranch and ran some radio stations through his wife, but he was a creature of Washington like few others before or since. Nobody voted for LBJ because he knew the price of beef on the hoof. John F. Kennedy didn’t ever run a business as far as I know. Navy guy, congressman, senator, president. His father was a big business man, but JFK didn’t follow in his footsteps. Ike went to West Point and then into the Army at a young age. He never worked in the private sector unless it was during summers when he was a kid. Indeed he warned us to be wary of the “military-industrial complex.”

Unlike Eisenhower, Mitt Romney never warns us about the threat big business (when intertwined with the military) could pose to Americans, and he was in it (big business) up to his eyeballs, as we know.

Harry Truman was in business, ran a haberdashery for a period of time. Business was pretty good in the late ’40s and early ’50s. Maybe it was because of Truman’s business acumen, but maybe not.

A President Romney would have to “order” or “direct” his subordinates to contact corporations and businesses, large and small and tell them they must create jobs — or else — by a date certain — or else. The “or else” is a real problem for an American president. And anything short of that would not guarantee that jobs would get created.

Chuck Norris says it’s crucial to the nation’s economic security that Gov. Romney be elected president — that only he, Romney, can create jobs and turn bad business into good business. I don’t doubt there are lots of good reasons to vote for Gov. Romney, but a direct link between his success in business and guaranteed economic improvement is simply not there. Economics whether local, national or international is much more complex than that. I know it, and you know it, and he knows it better than most of us.
Now, I have been thinking that if Gov. Romney really could do what he says he can do, and if he does not get elected next week, the re-elected President Obama could create a “super-job-czar” post just for him. It could become a permanent, president-appointed job like a cabinet secretary. I’d call it the “Romney,” and ever after, the person filling that position would be called the “Romney.” It’s so crazy, it just might work.

Chris Daley is a staff writer and columnist for the Mountain Democrat. His column appears each Friday. 

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 14 comments

  • Phil VeerkampNovember 02, 2012 - 12:40 pm

    Oh yeah? Well I'll bet Chuck Norris could whip you, Chris Daley.

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  • James E.November 02, 2012 - 4:01 pm

    Mr. Veerkamp, I heard that Chris Daley taught Chuck Norris how to fight, but he didn't teach him all he knew so Chris can still take him in five rounds or less. Military troops seem to love Chuck Norris because he has appeared in CIA/Delta Force movies and he's a real "tough" movie guy -- in real life, Chuck was an Air Force MP. Today, Chuck wears a rug and writes (if he is the one really writing them) political columns. Chuck has never been my hero because I know the difference between movies and real life.

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 02, 2012 - 10:18 pm

    Colonel, Chris Daley eats quiche lorraine. Chuck Norris cracks eggs, blends with habaneros an a pinch of ghost chili and drinks neat. Bring it on.

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  • James E.November 02, 2012 - 10:22 pm

    Come on, Chuck Norris is 72 -- he won't even be able to get into the ring.

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 02, 2012 - 10:50 pm

    Chris Daley's been rode hard and put away wet a few too mnany times. 72 is the new 40.

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  • CatherineNovember 03, 2012 - 3:48 pm

    I met Chuck Norris at a wedding, when his karate studio partner married my PE teacher, Talana Burleson, a sweet little bleached blonde with a beehive and a black belt. I remember being surprised by how small he was. He was nice enough, though. I hope he'll be OK under the coming "1000 years of darkness."

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  • James E.November 03, 2012 - 4:12 pm

    Catherine, every movie star I ever met was smaller than I envisioned.

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  • Terri KlineNovember 03, 2012 - 6:59 pm

    It takes less and less time each week to thumb through this publication, if you refuse to read the propoganda. Chris Daley is the only contributor that offers another point of view. It is a sad day when a publication must resort to convicted felons, karate guys, and obscure "political" cartoonists to fill its pages and find consensus with its views. I do give the Mountain Democrat credit for occasionally allowing alternative views to be voiced. When that stops . . . so does my subscription!

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 03, 2012 - 11:26 pm

    Catherine writes, "I remember being surprised by how small he was." James E. writes," . . . was smaller than I envisioned." WARNING: When Chuck is aroused, stimulated and fully erect WATCH OUT!

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  • CatherineNovember 04, 2012 - 6:56 am

    Phil, Good one!

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  • CatherineNovember 04, 2012 - 7:02 am

    Phil, What I meant was that's very funny. I have no experience with a fully erect Chuck Norris, but it would make a hell of an action figure. Fans could buy it in complete seriousness, and those of us who think the man is not quite as smart as a 5th grader could but it for a laugh.

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 04, 2012 - 7:44 am

    $19.95 - not sold in stores - But wait! If you call in the next 15 minutes you get two . . .

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  • you do not have to voteNovember 04, 2012 - 1:30 pm

    The red psychopath is just as dangerous as the blue psychopath.

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  • MattNovember 04, 2012 - 8:00 pm

    I don't think Truman was running his haberdashery in the late ’40s and early ’50s, Chris. I suspect he was too busy with his other job.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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