“Boycott Campaign Donations!” What do YOU think?

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John Eyster
August 14, 2011

“Boycott Campaign Donations!” What do YOU think?

My attention was grabbed by Joe Nocera’s OpEd column, “Boycott Campaign Donations!” in the New York Times last Friday, August 12. He shared the idea articulated by STARBUCKS CEO HOWARD SCHULTZ’s to "BOYCOTT CAMPAIGN DONATIONS. Nocera reports that Schultz’s idea was nothing unusual. The REAL SURPRISE came in the response to his e-mail not only from within the company but among a group of some 50 business leaders he shared it with — that response was so overwhelming that it galvanized him to launch a “BOYCOTT CAMPAIGN DONATIONS!” movement. What do YOU think?

I encourage YOU to read Nocera's column for yourself by using this link, “Boycott Campaign Donations!”

You will find that Nocera proceeds to clarify Schultz’s BOYCOTT idea, “In effect, Schultz thinks the country should go on strike against its politicians. ‘The fundamental problem,’ he said, ‘is that the lens through which Congress approaches issues is re-election. The lifeblood of their re-election campaigns is political contributions.’ Schultz wants his countrymen — big donors and small; corporations and unions — to stop making political contributions in presidential and Congressional campaigns. Simple as that. Economists like to talk about how incentives change behavior. Schultz is proposing that Americans give Washington an incentive to begin acting responsibly on their behalf. It’s a beautiful idea."

He continues, “To Schultz, the debt-ceiling crisis — so destructive to the country, yet entirely manufactured for political gain — was merely the final straw. ‘The debt crisis is really the symbol of a larger problem, which is that our leaders are not leading,’ he said. The real crisis, he believes, is a crisis of leadership, both in the White House and in Congress, which is draining confidence. ‘America’s leaders need to put their feet in the shoes of working Americans,’ he said. ‘Instead, all they think about is their own political self-interest.’”

Will the VERY SUCCESSFUL CEO of STARBUCKS be able to manage a significant PROTEST campaign so that our politicians pay attention IF we do “BOYCOTT CAMPAIGN DONATIONS”?! Do YOU think that such a BOYCOTT would pay-off?

Having recently read Schultz’s book just published March 29, 2011 about his leadership to “save” STARBUCKS, “Onward,” I have special interest in his leadership for a BOYCOTT to discontinue ALL contributions to political campaigns. He was VERY successful with STARBUCKS. Can he be as successful with this political venture? What do YOU expect? Are YOU willing to join this CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTION BOYCOTT?

IF you need more information about Schultz, I suggest you read his book. I agree with Darryl Campbell’s review of the book posted on the Amazon.com webpage, “Books of the Month, April 2011: Onward is not a puff piece. In just under 400 brisk pages, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz details the multitude of factors--the recession, new consumer behavior, overexpansion--that led to the company's downturn during 2007-2008. Obviously, Schultz was successful, and his book has plenty of valuable lessons about management and leadership--standard features for most business books. But the most interesting thing about Onward is Schultz's honesty about the whole process, from his determination to make difficult personnel changes to his admission that he considers it a personal failure when he sees someone with a competitor's cup of coffee. Schultz even makes the chapters about his agonies over the company's breakfast sandwiches a fascinating study in the minute decisions that go into running a multibillion-dollar company. Conflicts, raw emotions, high stakes: Onward is a business book that goes beyond feel-good maxims and actually has a story to tell.”

Additionally, for MORE information on Schultz, read the Wikipedia feature article, “Howard Schultz.”

Nocera declares, “What I particularly like about Schultz’s idea is that it is not just another plea for compromise and civility, which does nothing to affect political behavior. It is hardheaded and practical, the kind of idea you would expect from a good businessman. Although it would require contributors from both the left and right to join arms, it seems to me that there are enough people in both parties who are fed up enough to give this a try. He’s already lined up one organization, Democracy 21, to support the idea; he’s searching for more.”

I checked on the “Democracy 21” organization and encourage you to take a look. Right now, the feature item on the homepage is, “Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer Endorses Bold New Proposal by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to Boycott Campaign Donations” dated yesterday, August 13, 2011.

And then Nocera concludes his column with a question and his support of the BOYCOTT idea, “Is Schultz’s idea a long shot? Yes. Is it worth trying? You bet it is.” Do YOU agree with Nocera? I shall be reading comments with interest.

Here we go…

Mr. E.

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