Though I’m a loyal democrat, like many voters I am closely following the GOP’s crowded lead-up to the primary season.
It seems to me that there is a lot of effort to make outrageous claims in order to break through the noise in order to get some media attention. I watched the debates and felt that there wasn’t very much discussion of policy and no vision as to where these candidates want to lead the country. Certainly, those leading in the polls do everything they can to divert from answering legitimate questions by saying they don’t think they’re fair or the media is playing “gotcha.”
From my point of view there haven’t been very many opportunities for voters to get to know where these candidates are coming from, their personal stories or what they really care about.
Gov. Chris Christie, a candidate I disagree with on almost everything, was speaking at a Town Hall meeting when he started talking about how we treat addiction in this country. He started by describing his mother’s lifelong effort to stop smoking. She started when she was sixteen and then in 1964 when the surgeon general’s report came out linking smoking to cancer she started a 36 year effort to stop that ended with her getting lung cancer. Most of us who grew up in the sixties remember when the report came out those of us whose parents were smokers watched as they tried to quit, some successful, some not. My mother pretty much quit that day, it took my father years.
The point that Gov. Christie was making is that no one ever said to his mother that she deserved what she got because she chose to smoke. Contrast this with his next story about a very close friend of his that he went to law school with who had a seemingly perfect life with a wonderful family, law practice and home. His friend injured his back while running and was put on pain killers which was the start of a ten year downward spiral during which he lost everything to addiction, including his life. In this case, the reaction was that his friend had made bad choices and deserved what came after. Christie’s next statement was to say that he is pro life but to him that means going beyond the womb to encompass the whole of life including issues of addiction to illegal substances.
His passion is to treat people with addictions with compassion, steering them towards medical and psychological interventions rather than allow them to be sucked into a legal system that ends in prison and ruined lives.
No matter that the subject was hard and this quite obviously had a deep impact on Christie’s life, it was reassuring to see a candidate speaking from their heart.
Alan MacLeod manages Capstone National Partners Washington, DC office where he is the strategic lead for CNP clients. Alan represents the Washington, DC interests of high tech corporations, nationally known universities and research institutions and a variety of other clients. His relationships with Federal Agencies, on Capitol Hill and the Administration have developed over more than 25 years working in and around Washington, DC in public affairs and the political arena.
The views in this blog post represent the viewpoints of individual team members, not Capstone National Partners as a whole.