Regardless of party affiliation, views on specific issues, or concerns about the true role of government in society, the bond between business and politics remains necessarily strong. Not only do political leaders actively seek counsel from business leaders but they frequently turn to the business community for assistance while in office and employment when out of office.
President Barack Obama followed a long standing tradition of past Presidents by forming various councils and working groups made up of prominent CEO’s and others from the business community, to provide input on issues facing the nation. While all Presidents have had to face criticism for what is viewed by some as a cozy relationship for certain business people, the reality for any President is that in order for the country to succeed, American businesses need to be able to compete globally. Without feedback from the business community, a political leader may become isolated and only hear the views of those with an agenda that may not entirely be pro-business.
What happens after a politician ends their public career? Or even when they put their public career on-hold? It is true that many leave public service because they can make more money in the private sector but those that come back have unique issues they must face. Former Vice President Dick Cheney is a well-known example of someone with a long political career who left public service, worked in the private sector, and then returned to public life.
Vice President Cheney started his career in Washington as an intern in Congress, worked for the Nixon and Ford administrations in various positions, became a Congressman, served as Secretary of Defense, and was elected Vice President under George W. Bush. Between his stint as Secretary of Defense and Vice President he was the CEO for Halliburton Company. Much has been made of the ties between Halliburton and contracts for the war in Iraq while he was Vice President but his lifelong experience is a well-known example of how business and politics go hand-in-hand.
There are countless other examples at all levels of politics. From a state assembly member who works with businesses in their community to US Senators, cabinet members and even former Presidents. The bond between business and politics is strong and will remain that was as long as they share common goals.