I’ve long admired Newt Minnow. He was a revered partner at Sidley Austin when I was a new, young associate there in the 80’s. His vision for media with meaning (“Television is a vast wasteland”) resonates with me too.
My admiration reached new heights today though, with his Chicago Tribune OpEd letter to Illinois Governor Elect Bruce Rauner – “10 Suggestions from a Democrat who voted for you.”
I agree with every point – particularly #7 – “Your wife, Diana, has good judgement.” But also I love the underlying sensibility of the importance of being a collaborative problem solver with good values, which infuses all of Minnow’s recommendations.
Here’s a summary of his 10 points;
1) Send your campaign staff home.
2) Hire a smart staff and Cabinet of men and women who are not ideologues.
Please find the entire letter, which I recommend to you, here:
3) Tell those who booed to get out of your way.
4) Illinois voters decided to elect a Republican governor and a Democratic House and Senate. That decision does not make you enemies but rather partners.
5) Successful Republican governors such as Richard Ogilvie, Jim Thompson and Jim Edgar learned how to work with Democrats. Study how they did it.
6) Your business success shows you are a problem-solver.Suggest that if certain incentives for small business and incentives to create new jobs are parts of a package, you are ready to negotiate.
7) Your wife, Diana, has superb judgment and can be your best adviser. Listen to her.
8) Be more accessible and open to the press.
9) When I served in the Kennedy administration, Sen. Everett Dirksen of Illinois invited me for a long visit and a drink in his secret hideaway office when he was the Senate minority leader. He said, “Newt, always stand on principle, and your first principle should be flexibility!” Gov.-elect Rauner, think about this and remember to keep your sense of humor.
10) Look often at a videotape of Chicago’s extraordinary Jackie Robinson West baseball team when it won the U.S. championship in the Little League World Series this summer and reflect on why these great kids won: teamwork.