Tag Archives: George W. Bush

An open letter to Jim Demint

Jim DemintDear Jim:

I know that you and I haven’t been exactly close since you had your personal, life-changing experience – discovering your one true god of campaign money and power. I know that even before that you seldom sought my advice, nor have I offered it,  but you crossed another line today by stating:

We saw within a few days that this President was going to be heavy-handed, he was going to implement his agenda and pay back his political allies, and it just went on from there to ObamaCare and then to Dodd-Frank. It has been the most anti-business and I consider anti-American administration in my lifetime. Things that are just so anathema to the principles of freedom, and everything he has come up with centralizes more power in Washington, creates more socialist-style, collectivist policies. This president is doing something that’s so far out of the realm of anything Republicans ever did wrong, it’s hard to even imagine.

Jim, I realize that you have had little recent experience interacting with people outside your clan to allow you to understand that Americans could vote differently than you, but they did. Our president, yours and mine, was democratically elected by a majority of Americans – even the Republican justices of the Supreme Court have said so – just as you were in South Carolina, at least the first time. By the way, I’ve been meaning to write and tell you that I thought what you did in the last election by getting your supporters to get Alvin Greene on the ballot was down right Machiavellian. I always believed you had it in you.

But, don’t you think it was just a wee bit hypocritical to say in 2007 that what Romney did in passing medical care for all in Massachusetts was “something that I think we should do for the whole country” and now that it has been passed, today you characterize President ObamaCare as “anti-business… socialist-style, collectivist policies”?

And, Jim, just what is your problem with Dodd-Frank? Is it just pandering to your donor base? Is your homophobia bothering you again? Or did you forget what happened under George W. Bush on Wall Street? Do you not remember that those abuses led to the worst recession in our nation in 80 years? Aren’t any of your friends or constituents among the 10-25 million under or unemployed? Did you forget that you are in Washington to fix things that are broken – and that Wall Street was and is broken? For god’s sake, Jim, are you suggesting that nothing should have been done? That no changes should have been made? Dodd-Frank is not “anti-business,” at its very best, it is sort of, pro-people, but not really. The rules for, which you have work so hard to undermine. I’m all for faith in religion, but faith-based regulation of greed has undermined the full faith and credit of the United States Government – you say it is an “anathema to the principles of freedom.” I suggest we can’t have freedom without it. And what’s this whole thing about tying it to President Obama? He didn’t write it. He just signed it. Dodd-Frank was written the way all bills are in Washington, by Congressional aids, with input from both parties’ most favored lobbyists.

Jim, presidents signing bills isn’t “heavy-handed” or “pay back.”  Signing bills is what presidents do. In eight years, W only vetoed bills about children’s health insurance (twice), water conservation, veterans’ care, defense appropriations, Katrina recovery, education funding, stem care research (twice) – by the way, did you happen to see the big break through using t-cells, which are derived from stem cells, that cured chronic lymphocytic leukemia and may soon be used for ovarian cancer? Makes you think, doesn’t it?

“This president is doing something that’s so far out of the realm of anything Republicans ever did wrong.” Come on Jim, surely, you do not mean to characterize the providing a little medical insurance and a little financial regulation for those without it, with Bush’s sins of lying to go to war, kidnapping, torture and subverting the Constitution? As you say, “it’s hard to even imagine.”

But to the main point, at least the main spin from your statement, in which you say that you consider President Obama’s the most “anti-American administration in my lifetime.” Jim, your statement is more anti-American than anything you suggest. We are at war. At least three wars.  Our President is proudly saluted as Commander-in-Chief by more than a million brave men and women in uniform. You defame them by your attack. You, who deferred out of the draft during Vietnam, should be ashamed.

Jim, your statements today are just plain stupid. I know you were talking to your base, but I also know you are not stupid. It does make me wonder, however, what your motives could be? Why would you say something so stupid? Could it be… was it because… Jim, are you still trying to get attention? Did you feel that you were being upstaged by the Iowa debate? Listen, we all know that your brother was the popular one and that you have always tried to be like him. But your brother isn’t popular because he says stupid, outrageous things, mean-spirited, un-American things. Your brother is popular because he likes people. Try it, it might work for you, too. You might start right there in South Carolina. There are people who need help and things that need being done that only the government can do. We are in trouble in this country. We need leaders who can and will help.

Please remember me to Debbie and your mom.


Lee Leslie


How Nero Must Have Felt When He Stopped Fiddling

get-motivated-bushWhat a mess. Somebody should have stopped me.

I have been fortunate to have had many people who encouraged me toward self-improvement. An early example was an employer’s requirement to complete Dale Carniegie’s training to learn “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” As those of you who know me might expect, it did require staying after class a few times. I almost dropped out when I was required to stand up in front of the class and yell with believable enthusiasm, “Boy, do I feel good.” But somehow, I got through it and completed the course. Other than making some great friends in the class and remembering their names for a few months, the long-term affect was not as dramatic as was hoped. I do still remember to “live in a day tight compartment” and that “any fool can criticize, condemn and complain.”

Admittedly, my anti-establishment beliefs ran and still run deep. I didn’t buy their politics, their wars, their attitudes on race or religion, their dog-eat-kennel mentality. I didn’t want to dress like them, talk like them or concentrate on my golf swing. I didn’t want to demure to the “man” or respect a fool for his money or power. And still don’t.

Subsequently, I was encouraged by employers to be Ziglarized, motivated, sold on success, taught to be productive and trained to be a leader. I’ve listened to 10,000 miles of cassettes, read dozens of books, done exercises, been coached, retreated, meditated, counseled and cajoled (George W. Bush wasn’t on tour during my self-improvement phase). Generally, with the same result. As I once said to my wife about technology, but the same is true for me when it comes to self-improvement, “the mind is like a rock. Pour the water of knowledge on it and it looks wet, but almost nothing sinks in.” Okay, I do remember a Ziglar story from “See You at The Top” that I loved – how to train fleas. I love it because I suffer from flea training and still observe friends and their children who suffer from it. It goes something like this:

“To train fleas you place some fleas in a jar with a lid on the jar. The fleas will, of course, begin to jump, repeatedly hitting the lid in their attempt to escape. Wait about 20 minutes. The fleas begin to grow tired of hitting their head on the jar lid. They just give up and will no longer jump as high. Once they become accustomed to the fact that if they jump too high they will hit their heads on the lid. You can remove the lid and the fleas will continue to jump at the same height, never escaping the jar.”

One exception to those who watered my rock was Mooney Player. You’ve probably never heard of him. For much of his life, Mooney was a high school football coach in South Carolina at Saluda High School and Lower Richland. His teams won five state championships in his 18-years of coaching. Ken Burger, executive sports director at the Charleston Post and Courier, said of Mooney,

“He won 90 percent of his games by turning ordinary players into true believers.”*

In 1974, after a year as an assistant coach to Lou Holtz, the University of South Carolina was looking to replace Paul Dietzel and Mooney wanted the job. He campaigned publicly for it, saying that, “if his teams didn’t win at least 10 games, he wouldn’t accept a salary.” Of course, the university would never hire a high school football coach (hired Jim Carlen) and Mooney stopped coaching and became a motivational consultant. That’s when I met Mooney.

Mooney taught me to be productive and helped me learn to communicate without pissing off everyone in the process (I’m still working on that lesson). He didn’t have books or tapes and generally worked from a notebook more fitting for a football sideline. Mooney taught me to establish goals, break them into meaningful steps that could be accomplished and to set priorities. He taught me to plan each day with A, B and C priorities and to only do the A’s. His thinking was if you take care of the big things, the small things weren’t worth doing. I believed him and it works.

That is until you either run out of goals, or you live in “the worst economy since the great depression.” For many of us, business just stopped last year. Those of us who know a thing or two about a lousy economy or depression know that you gotta re-up. Set new goals. Break out the steps. Learn new things. Implement. Stay productive. Keep good habits. Stay busy. Most of us quickly accomplished our social marketing. We updated our sales tools. We streamlined. We planned. We called. We met. We scaled back. And we tried harder.

After a while of not having A priorities that could be accomplished (see training fleas, above) and being bored silly with B priorities, I found myself compulsively accomplishing C priorities. Those easy things to accomplish that fill our lives and have almost no positive consequence, except the sense of accomplishment that comes from crossing things off a list. I’m over that.

I know unemployment will likely worsen. That small business will likely not see an upturn for a year or more. That the worst may be behind us, but the future is going to be awfully hard. I know the stimulus won’t help me much. That health care reform, should it pass, won’t help me until after the next presidential election when it would go into effect. That doesn’t have anything to do with me. I’m not looking for Washington to solve my problems. I’m setting new goals. I’m going to break them into daily steps that I can accomplish. And I’m going cold-turkey on the C priorities.

I’m guessing that is how Nero must have felt when he stopped fiddling and looked out to see Rome in ashes. What a mess. Let’s get out the broom and get to work.

*”Looking back at Mooney the motivator.” The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC). 2001. Retrieved November 04, 2009 from accessmylibrary.