May 21, 2007
I am not much of a political junkie, but I did want to talk about one of the candidates running for the Republicans.
He is likeable, funny and just about as real a person as you could hope to see in politics these days. He has the self-effacing humor of Bob Dole – oops, that alone may doom him from ever becoming President. I hope not, because he also has a lot of great ideas.
I met him on a business trip last year. I had never heard of him, though I don’t know the names of many governors from other states. I attended a conference in his home state and he spoke to a small lunch crowd of about 100 people who clearly were not very interested in anything other than eating and socializing after a long morning of seminars. But people started to listen. He was eloquent and comfortable in his skin. Rumors started spreading around the room that this guy was going to run for President. Really?
He articulated his points with a perfect blend of statistics and personal experience. He talked about health care and the importance of wellness programs, and on this point, he really did speak from the heart. Apparently he has gone through quite an epiphany and has literally transformed himself by losing a significant amount of weight. He now has run four marathons. How about that – a President that has run a marathon. I say we make it a job requirement. What a great way to narrow down the field.
He spoke about education and made a point that I agree with 100% – the importance of not losing music and art programs in our schools. Not just for the sake of having great symphony orchestras in our country, but because of the clear links between the study of music and high performance in math and science. Also, the source of this country’s abundant wealth is that we have always been able to find creative solutions to our research.
He also made the point that teaching well-rounded arts programs in our schools will improve the dropout rate in our schools. Is that something our South Carolina state legislators are considering as we try to decrease our dropout rate? You want to keep kids in school, keep it interesting!
He calls music and art instruction weapons of mass instruction. I like this guy. He’s funny. His quip about John Edwards’s $400 hair cut on the debate the other night was hilarious.
He comes from a poor family and has had to work his way to the top. He is religious, a Christian, but he does not ram his faith down your throat. I see him as the exact type of leader this country needs right now – a Level 5 leader as outlined in Jim Collins book Good to Great. Humble, the consummate team-player who can bring out the best in the people around him.
He is probably not going to win, or so they say. Too many other candidates have deeper pockets, and therefore, more media attention. I have heard him bewail the plutocratic American system, but what are you going to do. I think I just yearn for a President who knows what the word plutocracy means.
I took a minute after his speech to go up to him, look him in the eye, shake his hand and thank him for an excellent speech. Some day I hope to tell my grand children that I met the President of the United States, Mike Huckabee.
Check out his website.