My Response to Tom Foley

November 22, 2010

Today former GOP Candidate for Governor Tom Foley penned this Op-Ed piece in the Hartford Courant about his experience in running for office. He talks about the process and explains this:

Politicians win elections by making promises. Voters decide if the promises are the ones they like and whether, if elected, the candidate will make good on them. Many factors play into the calculus of the voter's choice” likability, plausibility, personal credibility, a candidate's record and the views of opinion leaders, to name a few.

Foley then proceeds to cynically describe the politics in contrast to business and insinuate the politicians habitually lie. He concludes by recommending the creation of a statute that would require politicians to be truthful.

If the former ambassador wishes to understand what happened in this election he needs to detach himself from his own race and look at things from a broader perspective. He ran a race in conjunction with Linda McMahon and together they spent millions of dollars to woo voters. The narrative they ran with was that of being outsiders. Consultants that could fix state government by not being a part of it. Such a narrative is common especially in anti-incumbent years as we’ve had. It does not sell in Connecticut.

In business when you apply for a job you send them your resume. Your employer looks at your experience, skills, and personality among other traits. Experience is what won out this year. Though Foley had been an ambassador to Ireland he downplayed that and instead focused on his business experience. In contrast Dan Malloy embraced his role as a public servant and all his years as Mayor of Stamford. McMahon played the outsider card as well and handily lost to Richard Blumenthal. The advantage that Blumenthal had is that Connecticut voters already knew him. He spoke at their kids graduations, and has been perpetually present at political events in the state.

This experience will certainly help these legislators and constitutional officers navigate the tricky waters of balancing budgets and producing policy. They can figure out how government might stay afloat amidst this changing tide and try and ease the pain. However at the end of the day the state is still in an economic crises. This crises is as much the product of the free-market as it is of the government. We need business talent and we need it in business. We need all the Republican candidates who were outsiders to go back to doing what they do best to help lift us out of this mess. Politicians cannot and will not solve this problem on their own.

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This work by Matt Zagaja is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.