Is the Grand Old Party (GOP) becoming the Pissed Off Party (POP)?
It certainly isn’t the Party of Business any more — at least, not in Minnesota.
Yesterday, I heard from a professional colleague who read my piece about the GOP’s attack on Tom Horner’s business connections.
He said: “It has been fascinating the number of business people, including some very large company CEOs, who have shared their observation with me in the last week that fewer people in business will ever run for public office when even the GOP party will attack a candidate’s business career.”
In the good old days, the GOP adopted the mantle of business. But if you looked closely at the policies it promoted, it wasn’t really working on behalf of businesses. It was working for their owners.
Not the same thing at all.
See, where I learned business, we cared about our customer relationships. The GOP fights consumer protections.
Where I learned business, being angry about things and calling other people names was a totally counter-productive way to operate. At the GOP, it’s becoming SOP.
Where I learned business, we recognized that employees who were decently paid, had affordable health coverage and were treated with dignity and respect were more productive, treated customers better, stayed with the company longer and were ore willing to contribute to its success. The GOP fights most anything that relates to workplace safety, family leave, health care and minimum wage.
Where I learned business, we understood that community was a valuable source of information, referrals, customers and good employees. The GOP tends to view public investment in a community as a cost burden.
Impugning Horner and his business ethics is just the latest in a string of tone-deaf moves by the Republican brain trust.
In the last couple years, they have represented or failed to understand how investments in stocks work, how audits are conducted and, in my recent piece, how clients have a say in what a consultant discloses about them. They’ve also had a few issues with bookkeeping, under then-treasurer and now-party chair Tony Sutton.
Sutton is a business person, but from a very different mold than Horner.
His chain food business is based on a low-cost, standardized product that can be replicated anywhere, with interchangeable customers. A successful chain appears superficially different, but is fundamentally the same as every other business in its niche.
Think Bud Lite Lime.
Sutton’s business model seems to translate to his vision for government. A cheap, limited menu that is easy to live without.
In Horner’s PR business, relationships with clients are very different from a Baja Sol, where the customer is basically a stomach with a wallet attached.
Yesterday, I implied that Sutton should know better. But maybe he doesn’t.
Maybe he and his party don’t get how business executives like Horner could bring some valuable skills and perspectives to government. And if my colleague is right, Sutton is helping to drive them away.