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Andrew Wilcox: look up..look UP…LOOK UP!!!

My brother and I just had a fun debate over which ways that we choose not to die. Everyone says shark bite. We went to the box jellyfish, piranha, anaconda (would suck being squeezed to death until you think about our taxes and well..) Then he said he doesn’t want to die as a result of “a soccer mom texting her friends or reading a tweet about what Kate’s kids ate this morning while ramming her SUV into me and sending me into a 18 wheeler…”

Yeah, nobody wants to be done in by stupidity. Dad used to say stupidity has killed more people than the plague. Death comes in many forms. How many people do you see as lifeless drones just walking and staring at some little machine? I took up P90X “Extreme Home Fitness” with the singular purpose of lowering a shoulder and taking these people out as I pass them since they can’t figure out what direction they want to walk as they talk, text, tweet, etc… I REALLY dislike what I call “walkie-talkies”. People on cell phones just wandering around as you are trying to get somewhere. If you must let the world know how important you are, just stay in one place. Don’t act like a drunk at an all night buffet.

The issue is bigger. When people are looking down at these devices they stop looking up and listening to what is going on around them. I was on one of those 5:45 am flights recently and saw people talking on their phones. WHO ARE THEY TALKING TO?! Why cant they just sit at the airport and get lost in their thought? When did their thoughts cease being their own?

Recently, I had dinner at a nice restaurant and saw two women texting at their table. Imagine, one probably tweeted about the restaurant, the other texted and said she would enjoy meeting up with her there, and when they arrived were so excited to catch up with each other and enjoy a nice dinner, they sat texting others (or weirder, maybe they were texting each other while sitting across from each other) Is there any surprise that so much conversation is superficial? How’s work? Big weekend planned? Who do you think is going to win? Short questions that involve short answers. Perfect for folks to enter on little letters on a phone.

People seek out common thought rather than listening to debate and figuring out in their gut where they are on an issue. Stop seeing what is going on around them because they are focused on the next update. Vote for people that have the power to affect our lives based on blogs and soundbites.

I had a strange dream a week or so ago, where I was getting off of a plane, hung up a call and threw my phone on the ground and stomped on it. Everyone on their phones looked up in silence and then one-by-one stood and applauded as they threw their phones down. Maybe I lack iron in my diet or wasn’t held enough as a baby, or maybe I was just wishful thinking that that one act got people talking again. Face to face.

It’s time people start looking up again, using all 5 senses, step out of a bubble. It is a big beautiful world and at the rate we are burning CO2, it may not be like this forever. Gotta run, my 6 year old just texted me that it’s my turn to bowl on the Wii.

Thanks for indulging me the rant.

Andrew is married and a father of two daughters. Owner of Wilcox and Hackett, LLC a legal recruiting and client development consulting firm. A conservative who likes healthy debate. Enjoys reading, writing, working out, sports, and BBQ cooking (and clearly texting and tweeting).

(Photo credit: Paul Oka)

Andrew Wilcox: How they win, how they lose

Political season ranks right behind football and baseball season as my favorite time of year. I can do without the robocalls from former presidents and candidate’s spouses or moms. Even the littering of signs is a bit much. I just admire how people will stand outside for hours waving signs in 100+ degree heat for a candidate that they believe in.

In 2008, I happened to be in Nashua, NH during primary season and if anyone wants to see the real beauty of politics, they need to go to NH. Like spring training for Cubs fans, hope springs eternal and everyone is still in it. It is common for a presidential candidate to have coffee with a group of 3-5 voters in a living room everyday. I volunteered to a candidate that I supported and was amazed at the people that came from all over the country on their own dime to make hundreds of calls a day, wave signs in the snow, and go without sleep for weeks just because they believe their candidate can make a difference. It really is the best of America.

So here we go again and in the spirit of a pregame breakdown of two teams I detail how Republicans and Democrats win or lose in November.

How the Democrats win:

  • The economy, job and housing markets and news improves.
  • Run like a winner. If their agenda is the best way for America then run on the record. Run on health care, financial reform, stimulus, everything. Not personal attacks, run on an agenda.
  • The Republicans don’t get out of their own way or fail to provide a roadmap. They will pick up seats but not take over.
  • Listening. One thing that Republicans lost on a few years ago was just listening. They became so wrapped up in their power that they forgot that they represented people.
  • Do what they say, say what they mean. Don’t say that PAYGO rules and discretionary spending is frozen and then pass billions in extended unemployment without having a way to pay for it. Don’t say that earmarks will be cut “with a scalpel” then pass billions in earmarks. People arent stupid, stop treating them as they were.

How the Democrats lose:

  • Unemployment the same, stock market falling, consumer spending stalls, lack of good news. John McCain actually led after 8 years of Bush until Lehman happened. Dems can say anything that they want, but people are awake and listening and hard to believe numbers that require a PhD in economics and a magic 8 ball.
  • Running against George Bush. Politics is about the future. You cant own congress for 4 years and not claim any responsibility for bad decisions that happen on your watch. It’s foolish and worse it implies that people that vote for them are foolish.

How the Republicans win:

  • Define the narrative and create a roadmap beyond tax cuts. A new Contract with America that shows a unified movement and plan.
  • Seek to understand peoples issues then attempt to be understood. This is a center-right country, but arrogance and lack of understanding is where they started to falter before.
  • Be principled. Be simple. Be courageous. I’m not talking about reducing to slogans but define who you are and that the path forward will require some pain, but it allows people to see beyond the next election cycle. We need a 15-20 year executable plan on sustainable energy, social security, budget, etc. and that may not include that elected official being there to take a victory lap but show the courage to say no to some things need to go.

How the Republicans lose:

  • They assume victory. Bad things happen to people and parties that arent exhausted from outworking and outthinking their competition.
  • George Bush somehow gets on the ticket by association. If after 2 years of motivation and anger this happens, as a Republican I will dip myself in honey and roll around in fire ant piles. Then join an obscure 5th tier party that secures 12 votes during a presidential election.
  • President Obama finds his voice again and it resonates. People are desperate for a transformative leader and are ready to sacrifice. In 20 years he can either be remembered as a Reagan or Kennedy or Carter. He needs to find it.

Prediction: Republicans pick up a healthy number in both but don’t take over leadership. Worst thing that can happen to Democrats because they still have the keys to power but have to have Republicans votes for anything. Gridlock may actually lift markets and lead some of the money on the sidelines back into the market. Obama’s numbers go a bit higher and set up a great next race.

Is it 2012 yet?

(Photo credit.)


Andrew is married and a father of two daughters. Owner of Wilcox and Hackett, LLC a legal recruiting and client development consulting firm. A conservative who likes healthy debate. Enjoys reading, writing, working out, sports, and BBQ cooking.

Andrew Wilcox: Imagine there’s no money…it’s easy if you try

While flipping through radio stations the other night, I happened upon the Dave Ramsey show. Perhaps there is a certain cruel intention, “geez, thought I had a bad day, this persons life stinks, now I feel better” type of mentality. Much like what my wife gains from watching Real Housewives of New York.

The stories are tragic and all end the same way. Dave Ramsey talks low and tells the folks the bad news. There is no money and you have to change your ways.

How wonderful it must have been to be a politician when times were good. A new program here, a pet project there. Just like people who overextended themselves on mortgages and credit card debt, there was no reason to believe that the good times would end. Spend away and kick the problem of paying for a program down the road. If the people want cake, let them eat cake…

Rather than real solutions, political parties dig in. Democrats won’t let anyone touch Social Security, Medicare, and social programs. Republicans resist raising taxes.

If we want to get us out of this mess, both sides have to go Purple.

Dave Ramsey doesn’t tell people what they want to hear. He tells them what they need to hear. We all know changes have to be made to entitlements. The solutions are fairly straight forward. It takes leadership to say it though and paint the picture, regardless of reelection. Americans are willing to sacrifice, but we have to have faith in our leaders that increased taxes won’t be used on pet projects, or a never-ending program that is used to garner votes of a niche group or lobby.

If compound interest is a miracle then compound debt is a plague. Currently, interest on debt by the US is 160 million dollars a day! How much could one day of paying off China do for your local school district, or a week’s worth do for alternative energy to retrofit public buildings, or build a high speed rail.

How many people do you know that have large debt and just pay the interest? The average American has over 15k in debt. To get it paid off requires cutting back on everything. You sell off some assets, maybe not go out as much, take on a second job. You got into this mess, now it’s time to hike up the boot straps and make changes. Or you can just expect the government to “do something…”

I had a purple conversation with a Democratic friend about one current issue. Extended unemployment benefits. First we are told that discretionary spending is frozen and PAYGO is the policy. Except when it’s not. My suggestion was simple. Budgets are being crushed at schools, communities, and government programs. Provide extended benefits to folks that agree to give 5 hours per week while collecting unemployment to help in the community.

Sometimes when folks are in a slump the best they can do is shorten up and bunt. 5 hours a week is a great way to make contact again. Enrich our hurting communities. Reinvent themselves. Show their kids what the “greatest generation” did, that they won’t take unemployment sitting down. If 5 hours is unreasonable, then how is it reasonable to have others pay into a system so that you can do nothing?

It’s this type of tough love/ tough choices that people have to make.

How do we expect politicians to change their behavior until citizens change theirs?


Andrew is married and a father of two daughters. Owner of Wilcox and Hackett, LLC a legal recruiting and client development consulting firm. A conservative who likes healthy debate. Enjoys reading, writing, working out, sports, and BBQ cooking.

Photo credit: Richard Cox

Andrew Wilcox: Enough of the screaming and spinning.

Let me first say that I am Andrew Wilcox and I am a conservative. (Hello, Andrew.)

I read a book a few years ago about how Bill Clinton would go to meetings of people on the polar opposite ideological spectrum from him. These meetings many times lead to what Clinton called the “third-way.”

I took a page from that concept and decided to engage on Alan Colmes blog, to attempt a civil discourse. Within minutes of posting, I was berated while people made wild assumptions about every aspect of my thoughts.

President Obama, when asked if he watches the talk networks said something that I believe. Effectively, he stated that if Ann Coulter, Keith Olbermann, Hannity, etc. talk you know what they are going to say.

This has become an unfortunate part of the fabric of our conversations. News shows interrupt and scream. Guests armed with talking points don’t listen, they just recite. It has truly killed trust in civic dialogue.

People, especially our leaders, have to have the freedom to say what is on their minds, and be able to explain a nuanced perspective, without being called: Hitler, Socialist, racist, bigot, war criminal, homophobe, wacko, boogeyman, etc.

Instead, talk and listening is put through filters. Politicians do mental compromise arithmetic in nanoseconds after a question to determine a position that works. People hear something, and based on the source, go into protect or attack mode.

By starting this article saying that I am a conservative, there were some assumptions you made about me. Be honest. I actually consider myself what I call a Buffett Conservative (Jimmy not Warren). I am fiscally conservative, love free markets, but do believe in some regulation. Love the environment and seeing what is happening to the coast is heartbreaking.

On the Colmes blog, the topic was the oil spill in the Gulf. The conversation turned quickly to how criminal George Bush is. All of his cronies caused this. They expected me to blame President Obama and blasted me for 8 years of Bush, the last two of which were a Democratic Congress. Then came the tirades about squandering surpluses and wars. Again a Democratic president, but people forget a Republican Congress.

You simply can’t associate 100% accomplishments and/or blame to either party, but that is the line in the sand that has been drawn. Scream and spin. That goes for the Gulf spill, Katrina, wars, all the way down the line.

I find myself starting conversations with people ideologically different from me by making a statement and then hoping to facilitate conversation. “I don’t have all of the answers and neither do you, but would really love to learn your perspective. May not agree on everything, but the stuff that we can agree on, let’s solve something.”

Imagine if every big issue that needed to be addressed started like that.

Andrew is married and a father of two daughters. Owner of Wilcox and Hackett, LLC a legal recruiting and client development consulting firm. A conservative that enjoys healthy debate. Enjoys reading, writing, working out, sports, and bbq cooking.