retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

This has nothing to do with retailing or the food business, but it does have something to do with a subject - politics - that increasingly occupies people's attention, including here on MNB.

The story has to do with two Congressmen from Texas - Democrat Beto O’Rourke and Republican Will Hurd - who earlier this week found themselves unable to fly back to Washington because their flights had been cancelled by a blizzard. So, they decided to rent a car to drive the 1,600 miles together, in order to make it back in time for scheduled votes.

The Washington Post reports that "by lunch they had stopped at SXSW in Austin, learned the uniting power of coffee from a barista in San Marcos, shared a granola bar they’d split down the middle and, yes, starred in their own version of 'Carpool Karaoke.'

“'On the road again,' Willie Nelson sang from the speakers of their 1999 Chevy Impala rental. 'Like a band of gypsies, we go down the highway.'"

And then the two Congressmen, who didn't really know each other that well before their trip began, belted out the next line: “We’re the best of friends.”

The Post writes that as they traveled, :they broadcast live via Periscope and Facebook for all of America ... They decided to call it a town hall meeting on wheels, their /road to work' adventure, an impromptu experiment in democracy free of the aides and entourages of Washington ... They welcomed questions from their audience, personal and political in nature, and solicited playlist suggestions, must-see attractions and food pit stops to hit along the way."

Throughout the trip, the Post writes, "they pondered tough questions - who would play them in the movie version of their trip, cake vs. pie, salsa verde or salsa roja - but they also fielded inquiries about the serious political issues facing Americans, including the Republican health-care bill, the border wall, criminal justice reform, foreign policy and Kellyanne Conway’s theory that microwaves can spy on you."

It is a terrific story, and you can read it here.

It reminded me of a podcast I listened to a while back, in which David Axelrod, who used to work for Barack Obama, discussed national and international affairs with Mitt Romney, who once was the GOP's presidential candidate. (The podcast, called "The Axe Files," is one of the best public affairs programs out there, featuring a broad range of politicians talking about the issues ... it is on my regular rotation.) In listening to Romney and Axelrod talk in a calm and nuanced fashion about their different perspective son the issues, it occurred to me that if you sent two guys like that into a room and asked them to come up with compromise positions on all the major issues facing the nation, they probably could do so. Nobody would be happy with everything, but most people would be happy about something ...and we'd actually make progress in this country.

That's what O’Rourke and Hurd did, to some degree. At the very least, it is an Eye-Opener about what is possible.
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