CNN's GUT CHECK | for April 6, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
On Fridays, we like to take the temperature of the masters of the political class to see how it thinks an issue will play. Today, we decided to ask CNN Political Contributor Maria Cardona and GOP strategist Curt Anderson if it is possible to be successful in politics if you punch out each day at 5:30 p.m. And what if lawmakers and political professionals spent less time at the office and more time with friends and family – would Washington function better?
What sparked our interest in these questions? This interview with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg by The Jane Dough in which she unapologetically declares she leaves the office every day at 5:30 p.m. What do you think? It might be time for your own personal gut check.
Q. Do you think that it is possible to be successful in politics if you leave work every day at 5:30 p.m.?
Maria Cardona, principal in the Democratic consulting firm Dewey Square Group:
“It is possible, but as in most things in politics there is always a caveat. It is much easier to leave work at 5:30 p.m. and go be with family, kids and friends AND be successful at your job if you are already successful by putting in the long grueling hours and endless weekends. In short, you have paid your dues. Unfortunately, if you are young and have no track record it will be much more difficult to achieve success and be taken seriously if you leave at 5:30 p.m. But if you are young, you probably do not yet have kids and are probably hungry enough to put in the hours required to get to that level. In Washington, New York and other bustling cities it seems many people put their careers ahead of their personal lives. It is a delicate balance, which in my opinion is still much more difficult to achieve for women than it is for men. I commend Ms. Sandberg for making this a priority. I did the same thing when I had my first child and went to work at DSG.”
Curt Anderson, partner in the Republican consulting firm OnMessage, Inc.:
“Yes and no. I try to be home for dinner and my kid’s ballgames every day, which means I do leave work about that time. But the way I manage it is to work from home every night from about 10 p.m. to midnight or later. That’s the only way I can keep up. That means I don’t sleep much, but as the Navy Seals like to say, ‘You can rest when you are dead.’ It also means I don’t go to events much – I don’t go to fundraisers, parties or the political events that occur in Washington every evening. So I miss out on all the networking. I’m sure this causes me to miss business opportunities, but I’m also sure that it enables me to have a real family, not just a biological one. I don’t see this as any kind of sacrifice – it keeps me sane (I know many would dispute that). And by the way, I hate the networking thing anyway.”
Q. Do you think Washington would work better and politics would be more civil if less time was spent on the job and more time spent with friends and family?
“I think there needs to be one more ingredient in the mix for politics to work better and be more civil: Extend our friendship circles to those who may not necessarily share our political view points. What happens so much in Washington is that we retire to our personal circles and many times those are people who share our views on most things, especially politics. What seems to be desperately missing are those famed friendships such as Teddy Kennedy and Orrin Hatch or Patrick Moynihan and Bob Dole. It seems natural that when you know someone personally, outside of the boundaries of work, you are more open to working with them. It seems the ladies of the Senate have found this to be true as they have forged personal friendships and have been able to work together on many issues for the American people. We should all take a page out of this playbook.”
“The desire to get ahead of the next guy makes this just a silly hypothetical question. Here’s the real problem in my view: people in politics/government/lobbying/etc. … in the Washington, D.C., area make a big mistake. The mistake is that everything they do is with political people. They work with them, they socialize with them, they dine with them and they vacation together. It is the whole thing. This gives a person a rather jaundiced perception. Part of the problem is that most folks working in politics in Washington are far away from home, which means they don’t have much in the way of community, family, church or roots that enable them to get away from politics and spend time with real Americans.”
What vice president was sworn in as president on this day in 1841?
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The political bites of the day
- Talking to women and making the mother-in-law happy -
PRESIDENT OBAMA AT THE WHITE HOUSE FORUM ON WOMEN: “There's been a lot of talk about women and women's issues lately, as there should be, but I do think that the conversation has been oversimplified. Women are not some monolithic block. Women are not an interest group. You shouldn't be treated that way. Women are over half this country and its work force, not to mention 80% of my household, if you count my mother-in-law. And I always count my mother-in-law.”
- Romney blames Obama for jobs report -
MITT ROMNEY RESPONDED TO THE MARCH EMPLOYMENT REPORT BY STATING: “This is a weak and very troubling jobs report that shows the employment market remains stagnant. Millions of Americans are paying a high price for President Obama's economic policies, and more and more people are growing so discouraged that they are dropping out of the labor force altogether. It is increasingly clear the Obama economy is not working and that after three years in office the president's excuses have run out.”
- Sperling: With bipartisanship, numbers would be better -
GENE SPERLING ON HOUSE PARTISANSHIP AND JOB NUMBERS: “I am saying that the partisanship that we perceive, particularly from the House of Representatives, I think has blocked us from having a stronger job market.”
- The president refuses to get serious, Boehner says -
SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER RELEASED THIS STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO THE MARCH EMPLOYMENT REPORT: “Today’s report shows that families and small businesses are still struggling to get by because of President Obama’s failed economic policies. Unemployment is far too high, paychecks are shrinking, gas prices are rising faster than ever, and our debt now exceeds the size of our entire economy. Unfortunately, the president is refusing to get serious about addressing our fiscal and economic challenges.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Only one month after William Harrison was sworn in as president, John Tyler, his vice-president, was thrust into the job after Harrison died in office. On this day in 1841, Tyler was sworn in as president, making him the first vice president to occupy the Oval Office following a president’s death.
Tyler’s presidency became an interesting experiment in party politics. Earlier in his career, Tyler denounced his Democratic Party because of Andrew Jackson’s policies, leading him to leave the party. Tyler then joined the Whig Party and was elected vice-president. But when Tyler balked at an attempt by the Whig Party to re-establish the National Bank, his Whig Cabinet resigned and the party expelled him. He then served part of his presidency without any party affiliation.
Even though he had a penchant for leaving political parties, Tyler had a fairly robust political career. In his life he served as a Virginia state legislator, governor, congressman and senator. After his presidency, Tyler even served as a member of Congress for the Confederate States of America.
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