Fat Cats and Expedient Elephants – Part 1
Updated: Jan 31
Guest blogger Brian Patrick kicks off this series on business and the GOP. Brian is a historian who’s worked on campaigns at the state and federal level in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area.
Over the past few decades, a flawed orthodoxy has taken hold in Republican and conservative politics.
With fiscal conservatism taking a high priority in conservative ideology, it has become nearly fundamental doctrine that Republicans promote, almost exclusively, entrepreneurs and successful owners of businesses of all sizes for elected office.
At the outset, this approach seems reasonable. After all, business is the motor that runs a prosperous capitalist economy. It is a key component in keeping the green flow so vital to our capitalist way of life flowing through the body that is our economy. It only makes sense that those who have contributed to sustaining this flow by providing jobs and moving money in directions that would best benefit the economy, and by default our nation and state, should be given the reigns of power. Truly, it has become a nearly mutually exclusive relationship.
However, this mutual exclusivity has the effect of tying one arm behind our collective conservative back.
People from all walks of life possess a myriad of talents that can and do provide effective leadership. Effective government is a harmonious convergence of intellect, drive, and dedication. It requires a finesse that even the non-entrepreneurial participants in the political process can and do possess. And we do ourselves and our society a grave disservice when we exclude them out-of-hand simply because they do not own a business.
It becomes a question of recognizing the purpose of government itself. The preamble to the United States Constitution offers six reasons for our government’s existence; to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty. Nowhere in that document does it say that only entrepreneurs, and no one else, can get the job done. And it would be folly to ever make such an assertion.
With the political landscape currently undergoing a seismic upheaval, especially in Oklahoma, it is vital that we recognize that the old approaches to leadership are fading into the past. We are surrounded by intellectually and spiritually gifted conservatives eager to contribute to leading our society. They are found in countless walks of life and professions, and we are doing ourselves a grave disservice in declining to embrace their abilities and passion for leadership wherever they may be found.