A Work-With Approach

The former U.S. presidents — and the REALTOR® Party — set an example of cooperation that we can all learn from.

November 1, 2012

During a presidential election year, the citizenry can be downright edgy. In 2004, when George W. Bush was seeking re-­election, Democratic friends said they’d move to Canada if they had to endure another four years. (They were just venting, I guess, because they stayed.) This year, Republican friends have told me they don’t know how the country can survive another four years of President Obama.

Given the stringency of those feelings, it’s important to remember that the president sets a tone but certainly isn’t the sole driver of our nation’s well-being. Other countries, the Congress, and millions of people making daily decisions about their businesses and personal lives are also part of the equation.

People sometimes ask me why the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® doesn’t endorse presidential candidates. My reply is that the association’s leaders take the long view. They know the country changes hands with some frequency and understand the need to work with politicians from both major parties to advance home ownership, real estate investment, free enterprise, and private property rights. And they recognize that, among REALTORS®, there are differences of opinion about which party and which candidates best represent those interests.

NAR isn’t alone in taking the long view. A new book from Time magazine editors Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy shows that former U.S. presidents themselves adopt a work-with approach when it comes to the best interests of the country. In The Presidents Club, (Simon & Schuster, 2012), Gibbs and Duffy detail the bond that developed between Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover at the close of World War II. Truman called on Hoover—who’d been in political exile after leaving the White House in 1933—to lead the work of alleviating post-war food shortages in Europe. “Working together, these two men may have saved more lives than anyone in the twentieth century,” Gibbs said in a recent appearance in Chicago. In 1963, President Eisenhower helped Lyndon Johnson face the nation after John F. Kennedy’s assassination. And Bill Clinton teamed up with George H.W. Bush and later George W. Bush to oversee disaster relief efforts after the 2005 South Asian tsunami and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. (REALTORS® contributed to both efforts through the REALTORS® Relief Foundation.)

Now is a perfect time to reflect on the cooperative spirit of the nation’s former presidents—and the REALTOR® Party’s bipartisan philosophy—and work toward finding common ground on those principles that matter most today and for future generations.

Stacey Moncrieff

Stacey is director of content strategy for the National Association of REALTORS® and editor-in-chief of REALTOR® Magazine. In addition, she oversees the quarterly REALTOR® Association Executive magazine and manages a variety of e-communications for REALTORS® and REALTOR® association executives. She has been with the NAR for more 30 years, starting as an associate editor with Real Estate Today magazine, where she covered sales and finance topics.