Monday, November 03, 2008

A Merger of Labor and Love

Do you recognize the man giving the speech in the clip below?

Unless you've been following politics for the last decade at least a little bit, then you probably don't. But There is something mysterious about James Carville that makes watching him so captivating. This leading democratic strategist is a man who launched his career behind the scenes, out of the spotlight and in the "war room" as the '92 Clinton presidential campaign endearingly referred to their Little Rock headquarters. Together with colleagues George Stephanopoulos and Paul Begala, Carville has changed the way campaigns are run-- making a living off winning elections for the underdog.

I've always enjoyed watching the "Ragin' Cajun" contribute on news programs. I once even had the opportunity to attend a panel that he moderated in his home state of Louisiana. People from both sides of the political spectrum love Carville (his wife is a republican strategist) because he has strong opinions and is never afraid to express them. In a way he is simultaneously the anti-politician and the super-politician. He is working for the ideas he believes in and has dedicated a career to putting democrats who share his beliefs in office not just in the US but also abroad by managing foreign campaigns. Yet despite his uncanny political strategic skills and success he does not crave the political power a politician does. He is working for his beliefs without owing an interest to constituents or lobbyists and without the influence of public polls or pressure of re-election. He is immune to what Washington politicians call "Potomac Fever".

However, tonight I'm posting this video for reasons far beyond politics. In this clip we see another side of Carville -- A side of him that he never shows on CNN's Situation Room or as a guest on any news program. This clip of Carville was recorded the night before election day 16 years ago, tensions were running high and the race was neck and neck up until the last day of campaigning. It was a night, as George Stephanopoulos appropriately describes, that "[Carville] will pass from the role of a regular human being to the role of a legend..."

When I first saw this clip I saw the more human side of politics. Someone once told me that "everyone who runs for president has to be crazy." And to a certain extent I believe it. It takes extraordinary discipline, perseverance and desire to withstand the nature of a career in politics. It requires a lifetime of winning the trust of all those who surround you, repeating the same lines everyday and being constantly aware of your actions and word. Often times it requires improbable strokes of luck. But when I see this speech I'm reminded that politics is more than winning votes and wanting your candidate to win.

Long after you've chosen your candidate, done your research, donated to the campaign, registered some voters and bought a T-shirt and voted then the only thing left to give is your faith-- a sincere belief that you are no longer promoting a man, but personifying your beliefs. Regardless of your political party or preference we eventually arrive at a point when you realize the man who bears the name on the poster means less than the ideologies that his name carries. We rise above the issues that the media has force fed us with sound bytes. We forget off-shore drilling, economy, the war, democrat and republican and realize that inevitably tomorrow's decision is so much more than just a few tag lines and grandiose promises. It's a reflection of the needs of our nation and our plea to finally to reap the benefits of our labor and our love.


No comments: