A tale of two cities — Washington and New York: One is full of policy wonks and the other is full of venture capitalists and billionaires. The large majority of us are in the middle. I started working for startup and consulting companies early in my career, and then transitioned to the federal work force.

I think this marriage of over 15 years of business sense and profit motive combined with the social and policy nature of working in federal agencies has much more in common than a large group of people realize.


There is a real competition and sense of accomplishment in both arenas. Both have pros and cons and often both become outdated and need to be pruned and managed properly.

I believe the ruthlessness of the new international economy has led us to blame both causes, e.g. capitalism and progressive government. But that’s not the issue. We are in a tough worldwide arena and have to re-prioritize and re-order what is achievable. Both must play a key part.

Both political parties need to address this conflict systematically and as honestly as possible if this is to happen. As a “registered” Republican — and believer of free trade — I am appalled at the national Republican elected officials just winking and nodding at the scandalous and blatantly self-serving actions of the Trump administration. Talk about the ultimate ego trip.

I’m also not too thrilled at the recent and deficit-inducing tax cuts (in which the top 1 percent got 81 percent of the tax reductions, according to a non-partisan government study).

At the same time, it is clear we need to address Democratic alternatives to dealing with the ever-increasing debt — it likely will be their inevitable good luck and destiny to eventually inherit the current Republican scandalous mess. Do we increase taxes? Do we cut entitlements? If so, which ones? Do we cut defense spending? It gets worse in 2025 when reductions in personal taxes, but not for corporations, revert back.

The long-term economic picture doesn’t seem to be improving. The current indictments and investigations of Republican leadership that may lead to “revenge” when the Democrats eventually prevail — as soon as a few months or several years or perhaps longer — won’t help a lot either.

I probably will lean a bit to the Democratic Party in the next election, mainly to save our imperiled democracy. But it would be nice to see a plan in effect to deal with our critical domestic financial issues and some necessary overseas rebuilding of alliances.

Unfortunately, there are few natural leaders to choose from in a seniority-based system. I think Nancy Pelosi and some of the elder statesmen in the Democratic Party have done a commendable job of playing defense the past few years. But, whether symbolically or actual, it’s time to choose younger leaders with fresh ideas.

For all of the hype since the 2016 election, former President Barack Obama was recently ranked by a team of nonpartisan historians (in a fairly recent New York Times article) as the eighth-most effective president out of the 45 we’ve had and likely the best in quite a few generations. This is higher than Ronald Reagan and Woodrow Wilson.

Obama hasn’t sought redemption, as I suppose he is comfortable with his place in history, so to speak, and I don’t plan to sing his praises. His actual policies and legislative actions are relatively modest, but his strengths were a strong character, some charisma, tenacity and a commitment to make the nation and the world a better place and improve on earlier mistakes. Imagine that! This is the best ranking since Eisenhower and Truman era, roughly 60 years ago, and should at least serve as a good policy starting point with some tweaking.

I think President Donald Trump is imploding with frustration as he is realizing he is a grand planner, e.g. bull in a china shop, in an era where tweaking and pruning are needed. Then he lashes out.

I like Gov. Larry Hogan a lot and probably will support him for re-election. But the recent national Republican attack ads on Democratic candidate Ben Jealous are detrimental in that I think Gov. Hogan should run — and he would succeed — on his record and the examples he set for bi-partisan governance. He then has to spend four more years with a Democratic General Assembly and Senate if he is successful in his re-election bid, some who won’t forget these ads.

I suspect that many of the so-called mainstream Democratic and Republican platforms should overlap since common-sense and business savvy don’t provide too many alternatives.

In the end, it becomes personal — Trump has an unflattering name for anybody who opposes him. Winston Churchill called his opponent Clement Attlee “a sheep in sheep’s clothing” which seems catchier to me. Although Attlee was in Churchill’s shadow a lot, he is considered the father of modern Britain.


The Democrats have to devise and articulate a plan, and they need a champion, preferably one with a thick skin and a link to deep pockets. It won’t be easy and always takes more time than anybody realizes, but our future as a great nation likely depends on it.