Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The flaneur of politics

One of the lurid fascinations of South Carolina politics is watching the two halves of political consultant Wesley Donehue's mind wrestle with each other.

One half I really admire. That half presents a man who's smart as a whip, uses technology in savvy ways, and sees over the horizon when it comes to political, social and demographic trends.

The other half, inexplicably, compels him to harness all that talent to make money from politicians- and causes- representing pretty much the worst, most backward thinking, and least intelligent people and ideas, to be found in America. The South Carolina State Senate Republican Caucus. Senator Jim DeMint. Congressman Todd Akin. Congressman Joe Wilson. Henry James could have had a field day with a story like Donehue's.

The tragedy is that as much as he professes his love for all that is South Carolina, the kind of people he sells his talents to for election and re-election make it a dead cert that never in his lifetime will Wesley Donehue be able to write this about any city in South Carolina:

This is my city. Most find that surprising. After all, I’m both a hard fiscal and social conservative. 

Sure, the bay area is ultra-liberal, but liberalism isn’t all bad. Big spending policies will put us in China’s pocket and moral degradation will put us in even worse places, but it is typically in liberal havens like San Francisco where we find the most creative and innovative people. We also find the best food and drink in the world.

My time with friends in San Francisco isn’t about drama. We don’t talk about who is screwing who, who did something dumb at the bar last weekend, or any other bullshit time-wasting drama. We talk about big projects that are fundamentally changing every part of our lives. Today I had lunch with a developer building a new social commerce website. A few weeks ago I had drinks with a guy who wants to build music theaters. Yeah, they’re like movie theaters where people gather to listen to albums. Today I was picked up for work by a random guy with a giant pink mustache on the hood of his car. I just pulled up my Lyft app, told it where I was, waited to be picked up and then paid via the app. 

I love this city. Its people think big, real big. I am so lucky to have spent so many of my last 365 days here. My next 365 will bring many more.

1 comment:

  1. Bottom line: Donehue is about Donehue. He sells his services to the highest bidder, no questions asked. You don't have to be on the side of angels to be of benefit to society, but at some point, don't you have to look yourself in the mirror, stop the rationalization and ask, 'Is what I'm doing really the right thing?'

    Or do people only come to that point when they're uber-rich or on their deathbed?