“I hate politics. I don’t understand Congress. And I have no idea about who to vote for in the election.” That’s what I used to say until the political gene turned on in my late 30's.
For me, politics was boring and nobody cared. Congress was just a bunch of guys in Washington and they were going to do whatever they wanted to anyway. Besides, it didn’t affect me.
So my position was I’d just vote for the candidate who seemed like a rock star and had the best curb appeal. The media and the Party would make sure I picked the right one.
But in 1990 I started a new job working in Governmental Affairs at MCA/Universal and things changed. On a daily basis, we were dealing with public policy issues and I soon realized there were three words I had left out of my former simple political assessment; issues, resources, and outcomes.
So if you plug these three words in, the formula suddenly changes.
Politics isn’t boring. It’s about issues.
Congress isn’t a bunch of faceless people. It’s a machine for allocating resources and setting the rules. And elections aren’t about celebrity stardom. Elections have outcomes.
Once I understood that the election altered resource allocation and this affected the actual issues in my life, it became clear that Washington policy decisions transform the political arena from a boring collection of stuffy politicians into a rich landscape of diverse human opinions struggling with complex problems and many constituents.
Why did MCA think politics was important?
According to the L.A. Times, “It was (Lew) Wasserman’s bitter experience with that deal (consent decree of 1959) that made him realize the importance of political clout, causing him to become a voracious fund-raiser and student of the political scene.”
I must have picked up on this in the time we were in his office talking about our PAC.
When I was at MCA I realized the company had issues but I did not. The company had resources while I had few. MCA/Universal desired legislative outcomes that would continue to protect and enhance their resources. Think copyright protection, anti-piracy for music and film, union issues etc. For the…