I’m not a fan of Texas Governor and Presidential Candidate Rick Perry. Without devolving too far into a conversation about politics I think the man is a bad choice as a leader, and has some scary ideas.
But I feel badly for Mr. Perry, because he’s a businessman—albeit a businessman with some special circumstances that apply to him because of his choices—and he isn’t allowed to place phone calls.
Stop for a moment and think about that. Imagine you weren’t allowed to pick up the phone to drum up new business, or check in with the people you do business with—or send them emails, for that matter. Yikes.
That’s the position that Governor Perry and most elected officials find themselves in. Because it’s generally illegal to use government resources to do work that isn’t specifically for the benefit of the government or his constituents (and “I want to be President and believe the people of Texas would benefit from me attaining that goal” doesn’t qualify), the simple act of picking up the phone on his desk and talking to (certain) contacts under (certain) circumstances isn’t allowed. Arguably, even answering a call could be illegal.
Sure, Governor Perry could have fished his paid-for-personally cell phone out of his pocket to place the calls to donors that the article above refers to, and yes, we can make a moral/ethical statement and come down on the side of a man smart enough to have attained Perry’s position needing to be responsible for remembering to do exactly that. But let’s face it: that isn’t reasonable.
In fact, one could argue that Perry can’t even make calls like this from his home at the paid-for-by-taxpayers governor’s mansion, off hours (makes Mayor Bloomberg of New York City look pretty smart for living in his own townhouse instead of moving into the official Mayor’s Residence at Gracie Mansion, doesn’t it?).
There’s very little that’s neatly cut and dried in business, and that makes for a problem. Governor Perry is essentially guilty of the same thing that this teacher turned pornography peddler is guilty of; the act wasn’t illegal, but the timing and use of public assets to perform the act was. If Perry did it on purpose he should be held accountable, but given the 24/7 nature of holding a job like Governor, shouldn’t we be cutting him some slack? “Pay us back for that call, Governor; here’s your bill for eleven cents.”
Know what? Come to think of it, we need to send an invoice to President Obama for the dinner he and I (didn’t really) have. I’m pretty sure the US Government paid for that publicity stunt.
If you’re not a politician, or a teacher, or some other public employee, your business choices are much more your own. But in planning your business’ next business change, always keep in mind that someone might be watching, and getting ready to judge your choices.