Good Old Boys, buddies, cronies, buds – terms of endearment. Harry Truman had a bunch of cronies. He gave some of them jobs in the White House. Not important jobs, just a paycheck to hang around and play poker at night. The important jobs of Vice President, Secretary of State, and Secretary of Defense were reserved for professionals. Truman was a product of the Pendergast Political Machine of 1930’s era Kansas City – but Truman was able to separate his loyalty to cronies from his responsibility as a Senator, Vice President, and President. I respect loyalty. I respect Harry Truman for being loyal to his friends. I also respect Harry S. Truman for recognizing that responsibility was always the trump card. Responsibility trumps loyalty.
That is not the case with all people of power and position. King Carl Peterson, the President and General Manager of the Kansas City Chiefs does not value responsibility more than cronyism. (the King reference is the joke around Kansas City in reference to Peterson’s closed-minded attitude.) King Carl appointed another old crony, Herm, to be the Head Coach of the faltering Chiefs. King Carl and Herm Edwards go back to Philadelphia – back to the ‘good old days.’ Taking care of your buddies is a luxury awarded to those who have earned power and position. People earn power and position by being responsible – what the heck happened?
President George Bush values loyalty. As I said, I respect that. But not at the cost of responsibility. The disaster of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina was a result of Bush appointing political cronies to head FEMA. The Disaster of the Attorney General’s office is a result of cronyism. And worst of all – the disaster of Iraq and the war on terror. Bush demonstrates that he values loyalty over responsibility – the purity of politics over the responsibility of leadership. How shameful.
The failing Kansas City Chiefs are suffering the illness of cronyism. Lamar Hunt founded the Chiefs. His son, Clark Hunt, now runs the family business. Clark Hunt has been left the legacy of a proud football family. Where are his loyalties?