Those Dog Days of Summer… by Craig Fuller

So, I worried a little about the Dog Days of Summer. I really enjoy summer, and I am more than a little attached to my Weimaraner, Maggie. My concern came from the notion of wanting neither of us to become lethargic with the summer heat. Thus, we committed – Maggie and me – not to let the heat get to us. We would stay active!

We try to start our day with breakfast on the screened porch. With a cooler morning temperature, we enjoy watching the Osprey fish as well as the watermen working away on Trippe Creek. No better way to plan the activities of the day.

Boating has become a favorite activity. My initial worry about Maggie relaxing on the Ranger Tug proved unnecessary as she adapted quickly this summer. She remains as attentive as any crew one could have; however, she has become a bit aggressive recently about claiming the captain’s chair! Applying full power is her specialty.

Then, there is a new alternative this summer, an RV. Having traveled a bit with me in a camper as a very young puppy, Maggie has taken to camping…well, camping with air conditioning. As this commentary is being composed, we sit in a beautiful nearby state park. I’m writing. She is sleeping. She’ll be ready to roll out of here tomorrow…

So, staying busy during the Dog Days of Summer deserves a reward…

While relaxing with the “reward,” I sought an appropriate quote to wrap up this piece. That’s when I discovered something that I have yet to reveal to Maggie. The Dog Days of Summer have nothing to do with dogs!

Turns out, it’s all about the dog star, Sirius, and its position in the night sky.

According to experts at the National Geographic, “…to the Greeks and Romans, the ‘dog days’ occurred around the day when Sirius appeared to rise just before the sun, in late July. They referred to these days as the hottest time of the year, a period that could bring fever, or even catastrophe.”

So, imagine that. Well, it’s time for our night time walk and maybe, just maybe, we’ll see the dog star in the sky tonight or tomorrow. Here’s to Sirius, the star! (Just don’t tell Maggie.)

Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore.

Enduring Friendship by Craig Fuller

The dictionary tells us that to endure means that “something continues to exist without any loss in quality or importance.”

This past month, with the loss of a loved one, I learned a great deal about enduring friendship.

Craig and Karen Fuller

During the month of Karen’s passing, her memorial service and the reception that followed, I was reminded so often in notes and conversations about Karen’s lifelong success in building enduring friendships. From the neighbor she met at age 2, through high school, college and all the activities that followed, enduring friendships formed.

While I have always enjoyed strong professional relationships and many friends, the number of enduring friendships, if I am honest, is a small fraction of the number Karen formed. It was astounding to embrace the joy of remembering long ago moments and shared experiences that found expression all month long…in fact, the power of enduring friendships was expressed during the past few months visits, calls and messages.

Time was when we didn’t move through life so fast. When the town was a community where the townspeople knew each other and shared experiences together. We find ourselves more worldly while also more dispersed. Staying in touch is easier electronically, but schedules test our ability to sit and enjoy moments face to face.

For many, the professional relationships and even friendships fall away over the years. But, for the enduring friendships – and here’s the lesson – time and distance are of no consequence. With Karen’s enduring friendships there was no loss in quality or importance.

During this past month as we celebrated Karen’s life, whether people came across the country (as some did by car) or from next door, the expressions of friendship formed decades ago or only months earlier were heart-warming, deep and sustaining.

A friend offered a poignant perspective on all of this as I explained the task of looking at decades old documents that mean little today; in fact, many I never knew we had. The point was made that at the time they seemed so important, which is why they were saved; but, what has truly lasted and what was really so important then and now are the friendships around those shared experiences.

Important lessons…and going forward, I intend to work harder at building enduring friendships and be far less concerned about records of past acts. With more years behind me than ahead of me, the lesson of the enduring friends comes at no better time.

Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore. 

Memories Are Meant to be Shared by Craig Fuller

Those of us who have this periodic opportunity to share something of ourselves with readers of the Spy in our commentaries reveal, when we are at our best, insights about what moves us, concerns us and commands our focus.

Karen and Craig Fuller

Because of a moving message from a former colleague who read my last piece about the AOPA 80th anniversary in Frederick, Maryland, I worked for a couple weeks organizing my thoughts around memories. I’ve focused a fair amount on memories over the past few months and so that was to be the topic of my column.

Then things changed. During the past few days my sole focus has been on memories of Karen and our 38 year journey together. For, as the first of July arrived, so, too, did Karen’s final days.After seeing two close friends last Friday, Karen has been at home here on Trippe Creek in a peaceful and comfortable sleep.

Over preceding months, our friends have shared memories and photographs from the past and I marveled at how these memories energized and cheered Karen and me!

The path we have been on that began with mild cognitive impairment a few years ago, moved to dementia and about 2 months ago the process accelerated. While Karen could not be as active as she had been, the pleasure from conversations by phone and in person or from emails I’d read her helped keep her going and keep her smiling.

Karen has just about come to the end of the path she’s on. However, among the many lasting lessons she provided to me over our 38 years together is that memories are meant for sharing.

Let someone know what you remember most about a pleasant adventure. You will feel better. And, I guarantee your friend will feel better.

Given the complications and details consuming my time, my column was cut short. However, my path going forward will most certainly include regular commentary in the Spy.

Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.

Power of Community by Craig Fuller

Living in Easton, there are constant reminders of the value a community provides. The value flows from the people, the relationships, the culture and the shared experiences. It also flows from a unique geography associated with one of the largest inland bodies of water in the world.

Recently, a weekend event reminded me that the power and elements of a strong community need not be geographic; or, perhaps, I should say they can be multi-geographic.

The event occurred in Frederick, Maryland where the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) hosted their 80th anniversary celebration. The events over the weekend marked the formation of an association that developed into a full-fledged community we know as general aviation. It happened with the approaching world war when a small group of young and adventuresome aviators feared their beloved flying activities might be curtailed if America entered the war. The year was 1939 and the place was what is now Wings Field outside of Philadelphia.

These aviators decided to form AOPA in order to protect the freedom to fly and to encourage safe aviation. The organization grew over the years and evolved, but always remained true to the purpose the founders gave it. Today, it reins strong as the protector of airmen and aviation enthusiasts, running safety and educational programs right along with a formidable advocacy effort in Washington, D.C. and all 50 states.

It was an honor to be invited by the current AOPA President, Mark Baker, to join my friend and predecessor, Phil Boyer, for a gathering of the three living individuals who share the privilege of representing hundreds of thousands of pilots as presidents of AOPA. We spent a good deal of time together and were captured signing the beautiful AOPA 80th Anniversary books for members.

AOPA President, Mark Baker, Phil Boyer, and author Craig Fuller

As I stood near the flight line, I marveled at the foresight of the founders and appreciated the hundreds of people who have worked tirelessly at AOPA to make a vision into a reality. Aviators had come from all over the country to be present for the celebration. Pilots were demonstrating short field landing skills in a competition with two-seat backcountry aircraft (some of the most fun flying I’ve done was in one of them…the Husky); while at the same time, restored World War II aircraft were used to launch paratroopers dressed and using parachutes just like they would have in the war.

Aircraft of all kinds were on the field drawing a record crowd even on days with marginal weather. They came to witness the event. They came to enjoy the company of fellow pilots and aviation enthusiasts. They came to show their support for general aviation. They came, in every sense of the word, because they wanted to show they are part of a community.

Often, success in the world of associations is judged by numbers. However, while numbers matter, the impressive nature of the general aviation community built by AOPA and the other general aviation associations is the strong bond that is shared by so many. That bond results in engagement when threats appear on the horizon. The bond is why safety information is shared rapidly throughout the aviation community. Not only do pilots want to know everything there is to know that can enhance the safety of flight, they are anxious to share it with others.

Having flown airplanes for fifty years purely because I chose to do so, I was never prouder or more moved by the community that has become general aviation. It was as exciting to see a 100-year-old World War II veteran stand to speak of his love for aviation as it was to see the excitement on the faces of children as they watched the World War II era aircraft lift off the ground.

As long as the bond that brings aviators and aviation enthusiasts together remains strong, the community will remain strong and the unique freedom to fly we enjoy in the United States will provide new opportunities for people of all ages to, as an American pilot in World War II, John Magee, Jr, said, “…slip the surly bonds of earth.”

Perhaps on this 80th Anniversary, we could celebrate with John Magee, Jr.’s full poem and reflect on the remarkable experience of flight….

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, –and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of –Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Happy birthday, AOPA! Well done!

Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.


Can You Hear Me Now? By Craig Fuller

Can You Hear Me Now?

Clever cell phone ad phrase, but an increasingly important question related to civil discourse in today’s highly charged environment where toxic messages fly with abandon. If the question is a good one to explore, it does not take long to find that the answers about being heard are more complex than one might think.

Thinking about understanding one another and communication has been going on for a very long time, of course. Smart people have various takes on what matters, but if there is one theme running through communications commentary by wise people it’s that we don’t really do too well today on the clarity of communication scale.

And, if we start at the heart of communication, understanding a reality we want to share, one might conclude things breakdown pretty fast.

A well-regarded communications expert, Paul Watzlawick, offers this challenging assessment: “Our everyday, traditional ideas of reality are delusions which we spend substantial parts of our daily lives shoring up, even at the considerable risk of trying to force facts to fit our definition of reality instead of vice versa. And the most dangerous delusion of all is that there is only one reality.”

By the way, Watzlawick published some of the most influential publications in communication/interactional theory during his lifetime during which he authored more than 150 scientific papers and 22 books that are translated in 80 languages.

I confess the Watzlawick theory about multiple realities throws me off my long-held notion that we can all form our own point of view, but we can’t make up our own facts. Indeed, selective fact selection does contribute to much of today’s misunderstandings, especially when the communications comes in the 140-word bursts of Twitter.

At the moment of actual communication, executive coach Ed Batista offers an important observation. Says this expert, the “failure to distinguish between intent and impact” is frequently the cause communications misfires. The individual seeking to share a thought misses the fact that their intent and impact are two different things.

This reminded me of a former colleague who was thought by her staff to often be angry. It was true, she had a short fuse. But, knowing she thought well of her staff, I asked why they thought she was angry with them most of the time. It turned out that she had formed a habit of sending her emails in all caps to get people’s attention…that was her intent. The impact was that people likened the all-cap technique as screaming at them and concluded she was mad.

This brings us to the corollary of Batista’s argument that the individual receiving a message also joins together in their mind intent and impact. The impact of the all caps email made recipients feel the boss was mad; therefore, the boss was in fact mad at them!

Of course, email, Twitter, Facebook, in fact all electronic communications makes all of this much more difficult. Face to face communication gives you so much more information before someone even speaks. You get to sense whether the person in front of you is happy, angry, sad, relaxed, tense and so many other readings one gets from face to face interaction.

Knowing people in organizations who fire off messages to colleagues who might be right down the hall, I always found that a short walk and face to face conversation brought about a far better result than a hostile email chain.

There is plenty of reason to fear today’s shorthand communication. As mentioned, there is the shortcoming of eliminating the understanding that comes from face to face dialogue. Then, there is the tendency to use Twitter or just short communications bursts to communicate complex thoughts assuming a recipient is going to possess the ability to decipher the intent of the message. It is fair to say that things go off the rails faster and faster using shorthand techniques.

One reason for a deteriorating situation is offered by London author/journalist James Bartholomew who introduced the concept of “virtue signaling” a few years ago. It’s his theory that increasingly people are working to create a favorable view of themselves to a select audience through the expression of indignation. The concept is that expressions of anger and outrage replace the real intent which is boasting about one’s devotion to a particular point of view. And, in many ways, Twitter proves a perfect vehicle, perhaps even encourages virtue signaling, by offering the availability of only so many words to make a point.

One example the author uses is that an individual with strongly held environmental views including a deep commitment to conservation and preservation might select a statement that plays to these interests like, “I hate 4X4 off-road vehicles.” This comes with no research or even an argument on the merits, just one strong negative statement.

Bartholomew makes an additional point about how many people not only fail to offer a thoughtful case for their position, they also find they can take a pass on actually doing something virtuous. Here is his comment:

No one actually has to do anything. Virtue comes from mere words or even from silently held beliefs. There was a time in the distant past when people thought you could only be virtuous by doing things: by helping the blind man across the road; looking after your elderly parents. These things involve effort and self-sacrifice. That sounds hard! Much more convenient to achieve virtue by expressing hatred of those who think the health service could be improved by introducing competition. (Emphasis mine.)

Maybe the shorter version of this is found in the phrase, “deeds speak louder than words.”

The take away from all of this, for me, is that clear and thoughtful communication is difficult. It is difficult when two thoughtful people sit and talk through an issue making it almost impossible when challenges fly via tweet or in Facebook.

Seems like, with challenges growing, we all might brush-up on our communication skills and increase contact with those with whom we want to share ideas as well as voice concerns.

I sure hope that intent and impact came together in this short discourse!

For more information:

Batista, Bartholomew and Watzlawick

Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.

First Flights for Over 100 Years by Craig Fuller

First Flights for Over 100 Years!
I was recently asked to reflect on the 100-year history of commercial flight. It caused me to reflect on my first flight decades ago. The history was interesting and lead to the commentary now appearing in THE HILL….

A young woman recently shared with me her excitement around the prospect of her first airline flight. The flight was the focus of our discussion, not her destination of the Bahamas.

The conversation brought a reflection on my first flight to Oklahoma City decades ago. The family flight to visit to relatives from our home in Southern California spared us a long hot drive across the Southwest. That first flight and approach through clouds remains a clear memory. The family vacation, not so much.

Believe it or not, first flights on commercial aircraft enjoy more than a 100-year history.

For the full story, please click here 

Euphoria for Some that Cannot Last by Craig Fuller

After 48-plus hours of commentary about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report to the Attorney General, I am wondering just how much more one can take. Throughout the epic coverage, I came to feel like I was witnessing an individual, speaking strictly metaphorically, who suffers from serious heart disease that wants us to celebrate the news that he’s been declared cancer-free. I would never wish to deny a moment of celebration, but it is hard to see how the future turns out well.

Indeed, I suspect that from a political standpoint, this may be the best week President Trump has with regard to the Russia investigations. And, I doubt the news swirling around the Mueller Report will change anyone’s mind, just yet. Supporters feel vindicated. Opponents look to New York’s Southern District of the Justice Department and to the investigative committees in Congress. Both are ambitious investigative bodies who can deliver withering blows.

I, for one, never really believed there was a great case for actual collusion with Russia. There is a strong case for serial naivete. I believe Trump’s world view propelled him to think about and speak of changing the relationship between the US and Russia while he was a candidate. That is something his first national security advisor advocated. Where they were so naive was in believing that President Putin seeks anything other than opportunities to diminish America to the benefit of Russia. They were also painfully naive in ignoring the intelligence community’s judgements about Putin’s actions when there was no interagency debate. What Russia did during our 2016 election was not new. It was much bolder. Their motivations needed to be factored into the new Administration’s ambitions, not derided.

While many seasoned and serious people would have taken exception to an effort to quickly find a better place for the President of the Russian Federation and the President of the United States to stand, if this was what the President-Elect had in mind, he should have just said so. Instead, whatever team Trump was up to, they seemed inexplicably committed to hiding their intentions, which is why people are now so determined to figure them out.

Many of the naive or devious have paid a high price in this process, and the investigations are going to continue at a fast and furious pace. And, here’s the thing that people in high places seem to have to relearn the hard way: the actual actions taken or decisions made may well be within the law, but failure to tell the truth to Federal investigators and the Congress is a felony and triggers prosecution.

Can’t say as any of this is something to look forward to. People who chose not to tell the truth set us on this path a couple years ago and will ultimately keep us on this path. We can only hope that our economy continues to expand, opening new opportunities for employment. We should also hope that in the Presidential primaries that begin about 10 months from now there will be more focus on the substantive issues we need to concern ourselves with than the literal trials and tribulations of a few.

Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.

Breaking Clear Away by Craig Fuller

Don’t know about you, but from time to time I just get obsessively curious about something.

Driving to enjoy the special features of the beautiful area in which we live, I kept noticing that Scenic Byway signage often had a Chesapeake Country sign attached. Whether there are more of these signs being mounted around the area or I am just noticing them more frequently, I couldn’t help but wonder just what the geographic characteristics of Chesapeake Country entailed or who founded this “country” within a country.

Turns out, it’s not so clear.

Seems that a confluence of thinking related to the protection our scenic beauty and encouragement of citizens to travel purely for the sake of enjoying our unique heritage culminated with federal, state and local officials launching common initiatives. So, who knew? But, with too few successful collaborations around these days, why not recognize a worthy effort.

Research uncovers that the states got into the action first in 1910 with Massachusetts enacting legislation authorizing cities or towns to designate scenic roads. Now, there are about 900 state scenic byways nationwide.

At the federal level, a burst of national awareness occurred back in 1965. Then, at a White House Conference on Natural Beauty, discussions on scenic roads lead to a call for scenic development and road beautification in the Federal highway system as part of the Highway Beautification Act of 1965.  

One wonders why things didn’t move faster….although, the US Forest Service did start designating scenic roads in the late 1980s. Then, in 1991, The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act established an Interim National Scenic Byways Program authorizing the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to designate National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads, as well as providing dedicated funding for byway projects. From 1992 to 2012, the Secretary made 150 such designations and provided $507 million for 3,174 projects.

Of course, no place is better than Washington, D.C. at establishing interest groups, and the scenic byways have theirs – Scenic America... And, wouldn’t you know, at this very moment Congress is being pressed – successfully – to reinvigorate the “dormant” National Scenic Byway program! Here’s the press release from last month by Scenic America concerning recent developments: 

So, this brings us to Maryland’s scenic byways and what the State calls Chesapeake Country.

It appears the state embraced a federally designated national byway that runs from Chesapeake City to Kent Island. State and local officials looked at plans late in 2011 to expand the national byway further south. Today, the State of Maryland literature suggests that the Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway extends 419 miles from Chesapeake City to Crisfield. And, to add further emphasis, Maryland has designated a “Heart of the Chesapeake Country Heritage Area” governed by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority and administered by the Maryland Historical Trust.

Believe it or not, this is the simple explanation for how and why Chesapeake Country came to be.

It also seems evident that well intentioned people wanted to capture the national excitement from James Michener’s 1978 novel, Chesapeake and thus encourage travel and tourism to our region.

However it all came about, in my view it is a worthy and important cause that brings people and revenue to the region by broadening the understanding of lands off of Highway 50.

As we look forward to improving weather with the arrival of spring, I intend to spend more time on the Scenic Byways of the region regardless of which governmental entity established them. They lead to important places that share stories of our past.

While the focus of the Scenic Byway program is road-based, the areas also provide hiking and boating opportunities.

From time to time I hope to provide a look at an interesting scenic place or two…but, don’t wait for me. Get your map and head out on your own adventure.

Ever seen this bridge? It’s found on the way to Hoopers Island and a world away from the larger cities we all pass through. Check it out one day. Share a favorite spot and we’ll give it well deserved attention.

There is no doubt that areas have been protected for generations so people can learn their stories and enjoy their beauty. And this all comes with a great benefit identified so eloquently by John Muir when he suggested we should, “…keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods….[to] wash your spirit clean.”

On the road at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge…


Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.

Ignominy by Craig Fuller

Time was when individuals seeking leadership positions carefully considered how events in their past might impact their quest for public office.

To witness the circumstances in Virginia where individuals are coping with differing but troubling past behaviors, caused me to wonder who is to judge anymore? In the era of Trump, just what is unacceptable? And, what standards now exist to determine what we will accept or reject when it comes to a person’s past?

My first instinct was to ponder what in the world those who ran for public office were thinking. Did they just assume some elements of their past would not surface? Or, did they think that it no long matters what surfaces?

It used to be that if there was something untoward in one’s past, the election process would surface the issues. Candidates even retained investigators to determine if there might be anything in their own past that would cause concern. Always thought this was smart since while something might not be disqualifying, being surprised and reacting poorly could damage a campaign….or, as it turns out, a sitting governor.

I wondered where the challengers were with their opposition research and where the media was with their laser like focus on the misdeeds of those seeking election to public office. How could three statewide candidates be elected only to be subject to virtually simultaneous calls for resignation?

No matter where one stands on any one elected leader, no one should want to be surprised by questionable deeds from the past. Candidates should be more transparent…as in providing tax returns. The media should probe carefully but aggressively; because, here’s the thing, the decision now about what is acceptable and unacceptable is now up to the individual voter. That voter must make a determination with the facts and that determination is far better made before the election than after with nothing other than public humiliation or the next election to correct a wrong call.

While I, for one, no longer can tell just what normative behavior is, ignominy – public shame, humiliation and embarrassment – after someone is elected serves no one well. We need to demand openness and transparency. While it is unlikely we will find the individual without an embarrassment in their past, knowing about it and judging how an individual learned from it must be part of the calculation going into selecting our leaders.

Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.

The Quest for Authenticity by Craig Fuller

Authenticity was one of George H.W. Bush’s most endearing qualities. I witnessed it daily and admired how someone so competitive and so much in the public view remained determine to be himself.

As individuals announce their intention to seek the presidency, something we should search for is their authenticity. Frankly, I find myself drawn to those who seem authentic and worry less about specific policy pronouncements at this point in time.

So, just what is it?

Carl Jung offered this insight: “The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”

And, Psychology Today magazine suggests:

….authentic people possess a number of common characteristics that show they are psychologically mature and fully functioning as human beings.

Have realistic perceptions of reality.
Are accepting of themselves and of other people.
Are thoughtful.
Have a non-hostile sense of humor.
Are able to express their emotions freely and clearly.
Are open to learning from their mistakes.
Understand their motivations.

A very good list!

As I watched California Senator Kamala Harris announce her campaign for the presidency, the focus seemed to be on the size of the crowd. But, I looked ever more closely. She seemed joyous. She seemed to have searched and found who she is and decided she wants to lead the nation for a series of good reasons.

In one rating of experts viewed over the weekend, Senator Harris placed first in the strongest of the newly announced candidates. I think her authenticity, even more than her just beginning to be crafted policies, that gave her a boost. [View recent interview here.]

Then there is the new and youngest Member of Congress from New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who at age 29 is attracting considerable political and media attention. Again, her authenticity seems to be at the heart of what excites people. She may rile Democrats and Republican with her passion to upset the system, but no one can doubt her commitment to improving the future in ways in which she believes deeply. [View recent interview]

So, some might ask, what about the Republican party? Is the authenticity exhibited by Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush something of the past in the GOP? Well, I certainly hope not!

In former Congressman and former Governor, John Kasich, we have an undaunted warrior who seeks to spread his message, one that seems both deeply thought out and believed in. If his authenticity seems to ignite less fervor, perhaps that is due to the fact he has been so public for so long. [View recent interview]

As voters begin to focus (and Iowa Caucuses are only one year away), I believe the search for authenticity grows in importance as candidates are evaluated. Interestingly, over the weekend Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) shared in an interview that he was going to be himself in a quest for the presidency and if half of the voters didn’t like that, then he wouldn’t be President.

Let’s hope the others who run will seek to really share who they are…and, even more importantly, let’s hope they know!

Source: Psychology Today

Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.


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