The latest Republican big fish to go Clinton is James Glassman, the George W. Bush Institute’s founding executive director. He’s also the con man who co-authored the book Dow 36,000. The paperback version came out shortly before the 2001 recession, just in time to tank the portfolios of the credulous who believed his buncombe that “Stock prices could double, triple, or even quadruple tomorrow and still not be too high.” Even so, Glassman was able to catapult from bestseller lists to the editorship of the online business site, Tech Central Station, which specialized, reporter Nick Confessore explained in 2003, in taking “aggressive positions on one side or another of intra-industry debates.” Which side it took depended on the interests of the Washington PR and lobbying firm that owned the site.
Because conservatism is fundamentally corrupt, Glassman was rewarded with the editorship of the American Enterprise Institute’s magazine, where he helped pump up the housing bubble with arguments for George W. Bush’s “ownership society” that home-buying should be made easier and that taxes on dividends must be cut. As he wrote in 2005: “People who own stocks and real estate—who possess wealth of their own—have a deeper commitment to their community, a more profound sense of family obligation and personal responsibility, a stronger identification with the national fortunes and a personal interest in our capitalist economy. (They also have a greater propensity to vote Republican.)”
For his slithering service, Bush named him his Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and put him in charge of selling the glories of the American way of life to the Middle East. After Bush’s second term ended, Glassman snagged his current position as executive director of the George W. Bush Institute.
But what’s the harm? Don’t right-wing grifters’ votes count the same as horny-handed tillers of the soil? Won’t the news that famous Republicans are breaking for Hillary help ordinary Republicans stomach the switch, too? It’s not like Glassman is going to be her treasury secretary. Democrats have an election to win, and it’s less than two months away—doesn’t Team Clinton want to pile up as many supporters as it possibly can?
The flaw in this argument is that it overlooks something: the potential problems come in the longer term. Large numbers of supporters of only glancing or provisional commitment to your governing agenda, shoehorned into your tent in time for Election Day, can become quite the liability for effectuating that agenda when it comes time to govern.
A Princeton PhD, was a US diplomat for over 20 years, mostly in Eastern Europe, and was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in 1997. For the Open World Leadership Center, he speaks with
its delegates from Europe/Eurasia on the topic, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United." Affiliated with Georgetown University for over ten years, he shares ideas with students about public diplomacy.
The papers of his deceased father -- poet and diplomat John L. Brown -- are stored at Georgetown University Special Collections at the Lauinger Library. They are manuscript materials valuable to scholars interested in post-WWII U.S.-European cultural relations.
This blog is dedicated to him, Dr. John L. Brown, a remarkable linguist/humanist who wrote in the Foreign Service Journal (1964) -- years before "soft power" was ever coined -- that "The CAO [Cultural Affairs Officer] soon comes to realize that his job is really a form of love-making and that making love is never really successful unless both partners are participating."