“If President Bush loses on Nov. 2, the finger-pointing among Republicans will begin immediately. Some may ask whether corporate America did its part. “The business community has to recognize that the public-policy arena is a very competitive place,” says Mr. Fuller. “If you aren’t going to participate fully, you aren’t going to get results that are very satisfactory.”
Indeed. We continue to observe a number of demographic groups slipping from the incumbent’s grasp: Cubans, Arab Americans, Hispanics, Soccer moms — even conservative states such as Coors hometown, Colorado, is in the swing column.
How did the GOP let these traditional strongholds slip from their grasp? Alan Murray of the WSJ notes the deafening silence from big business as one possible factor:
“President Bush holds a lead of less than three percentage points among “likely voters,” according to an average of recent national polls. Some Republican strategists worry that isn’t enough to offset a potent mix of antiwar warriors, anticapitalism capitalists and organized labor working night and day to turn out legions of new voters.
The counterbalance to the [left leaning 527 donors] of course, should be the hordes of American business leaders who support capitalism and limited government, who have benefited handsomely from the policies of this administration and who would like to see George Bush re-elected. Where are they? Surprisingly quiet.
It is one of the great ironies of Election 2004. Mr. Bush’s opponents attack him daily for being the tool of big business. But big business is hardly heard.”
Why is that so? Say what you will about the colder aspects of the markets, but at its heart, modern capitalism is a meritocracy. Why would the business community endorse an administration that by all measures appears to be bumbling incompetants?
Maybe its the economy. After all, the recovery has been feeble, and executives are loathe to put their quarterly numbers at risk. But I doubt that’s it. Corporate America’s balance sheet is in the best condition it been for years. Debt has been refinanced, profitibility is very high.
So what then? So far, we have heard that the new campaign finance rules have kept corporations sidelined to some extent. Others blame the trial lawyers, and even Eliot Spitzer (where are the Law & Order Republicans when you need them?)
Perhaps there’s another reason: It’s just bad business publicly backing Bush.
Look at the Sinclair debacle. Shareholders punished the stock. Fund managers screamed at their self-indulgent politicizing of shareholders assets. Calls for an FCC investigation have been made, shareholders law suits have been filed, and there is a grassroots movement to publicly challenge their licenses the next time they come up for renewal.
The bottom line is, well, the bottom line.
And it appears in an evenly divided nation, alienating exactly half of your clientele is simply bad business.
UPDATE: October 28, 2004 10:04
Just noticed that The New York Times has a related story: Private Political Donations Can Carry a Business Price
More of the same . . .
Cubans, Hispanics, Arabs: Are Key Demographic Shifting Party Affiliation?
The Big Picture, Thursday, October 21, 2004
Wary Big Business Is Loath to Speak On Bush’s Behalf
By Alan Murray
The Wall Street Journal, October?26,?2004;?Page?A4
Private Political Donations Can Carry a Business Price
New York Times, October 28, 2004
Hello and welcome to this week’s Carnival of the Capitalists! We have an exciting and wide ranging line up, which I have tried to categorize (a mostly futile exercise, I might add) for your reading pleasure.
So with no further adieu, I present this week’s entrants:
If I missed your trackback, email it to thebigpicture -at- optonline -dot- net.
“October 17th was the day that the web was officially born just 10 years ago. That day a company called Spry (later CompuServe then AOL) introduced a product called “Internet in a Box.” For the first time, you could trot down to a store, buy a software package, take it home and have everything you needed to connect to the Internet and the World Wide Web . . .”
“How to get your customers to fill you in – with the information you need in forms to be filled up. Let them form a good impression of you and your store – give them forms with function”
“The frustration for Johnny was obvious. His website had strong visitor traffic numbers, he thought. Johnny’s site offered a complete line of very good, and highly reputable products. He thought he had set up an acceptable way to buy them online.
There were plenty of visitors arriving daily to make any online business a major success. The problem for Johnny was, despite the large number of people visiting his site, not many of them bought his products.”
Blogs are becoming the “topic” of the day, all over the web, it seems. Jane
cannot open any newsletter, magazine, ezine, or even regular email, without
a question or comment on blogging present in the content.
We are delighted to see our favorite form of communication getting the
attention it deserves, but… the true purpose of web-logging is getting
lost in the rhetoric bouncing around the net.
Incidentally Yvonne gets a bonus mention for “Dickless Marketing: Smart Marketing to Women Online,” — I can’t comment on how effective that title may be — but it sure got my attention.
Alan Greenspan & the Federal Reserve