LETTER FROM CLAREMONT: NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2012
One of the joys of working with Peter Drucker’s vast body of writing is that he plumbed such a broad array of subjects. But at this moment, two topics in particular—government and politics—can be terribly treacherous to explore.
Our basic challenge is this: How can we write about politics on our daily blog, the Drucker Exchange, in a way that’s provocative but isn’t partisan?
To be seen in either the Obama or Romney camp would be a great disservice to Drucker. The Austrian immigrant loved America—the staging ground, in his words, of “the great political thinkers of the generation of 1776, to whom we owe whatever freedom there has been in the Western world since.” But he was incredibly difficult to place in any political box.
In fact, Drucker was proud to advise both Democratic and Republican administrations. He picked one R (Ronald Reagan) and one D (Harry Truman) as the most effective presidents of the past 100 years. He could see himself, as he put it, “sometimes as a liberal conservative and sometimes as a conservative liberal but never as a ‘conservative conservative’ or a ‘liberal liberal.’”
The way we try to navigate this path is to cut through the rhetoric and look at the bigger questions underlying the candidates’ statements (and misstatements).
As our blogger, T.A. Frank, explains it: “Mitt Romney’s ‘women in binders’ remark was a springboard for discussing the merits of different arrangements for women and men in the workplace. President Obama’s ‘you didn’t build that’ comment was an opportunity to discuss the proper role of government in supporting entrepreneurship. Behind the fake uproars there are important issues worth discussing with actual thought.”
Admittedly, we don’t always hit our mark. “Hate the president much, do you?” one Dx reader asked after we wrote about Obama’s healthcare plan.
Most of the time, though, we think we’re able to walk a fine line—and that, in turn, seems to bring out the best in our readers.
Indeed, we tend to receive more comments on politically connected Dx posts than on any other topic. And almost without fail, they provide far more light than heat—a rarity in this political season and just as Drucker would have wanted it.
Rick Wartzman and Zach First
Executive Director and Managing Director