Kavanaugh v. Ford is a Lesson for Business: Preempt Don’t Pause

October 3, 2018

At this moment in Swampsville, Republicans are winning the framing game, arguing that Democrats are delaying and obstructing the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. They’re recasting Sen. Diane Feinstein’s stated commitment to Christine Blasey Ford’s privacy as a fraud enabled by a leak.

And it’s working, but more because of the minority party’s timidity than the majority’s signature bravado. Predictably, Ds mistake plays that pause or inform, for worthy counters to plays that divert, like decoys. It might be different if, from example, Feinstein, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del) or Senate Minority Leader Schumer ran this provocative preempt:

Dems: Are we delaying and obstructing? Of course! But we have a reason: To protect the privacy and rights of women and to know the truth.

Assuming, Feinstein or a secret surrogate didn’t out Dr. Ford, the strategy of Senate Democrats resembles the calculations of so many embattled businesses. Think airlines v. social media, pharmaceuticals v. animal rights and oil companies v. environmentalists. Each has shown a chronic inability to entertain debates, even when they’re winnable, even when they embody the compelling causes of passenger safety, life-saving drugs and alternative energy sources.

Whether it’s Senate Judiciary Democrats, United Airlines, Pfizer or Royal Dutch Shell, these players don’t lack a position. They lack policies to prosecute their positions and a mastery of the influence strategies that can ensure their success. Too many companies put agreeability ahead of competition. Purpose, reputation, trust and authenticity are the fashion. But those are only pages in a fuller and more effective playbook.

Post by Alan Kelly