When Four Years Is More Than Enough

When Four Years Is More
Than Enough


Leonard Zwelling

         In 1980 America was reeling from the self-declared malaise
of its thermostat-lowering, cardigan-wearing President, Jimmy Carter. The
economy was stalled. Interest rates were climbing. Gas lines had been endured.
American diplomats had been captured with our embassy in Iran and the
President’s rescue attempt of those hostages had failed. By any measure,
Carter’s Presidency was a disaster.

         His challenger, Ronald Reagan, summed it up best. “A recession
is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose your job. A
recovery is when President Carter loses his.”

         And he did. Four years of Jimmy Carter was more than the
country could stand. Reagan’s California sunny optimism combined with a no
nonsense affect of bellicosity toward the Soviet Union made him the perfect
antidote to the Carter preacher-like sobriety.

         Twelve years later, George H. W. Bush was a triumphant war
President having pushed Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait in a matter of days and
having the wisdom (clearly not inherited) to know that an invasion into Iraq
would be catastrophic for the American economy and military, let alone the
stability of the Middle East. Despite this, he made a pledge for “no new taxes”
and did not keep it. Again, the economy was looking grim and the incumbent
appeared detached in the debates with the upstart from Hope, Arkansas. Mr. Bush
had no idea what the price of bread or milk was. Mr. Clinton did. He won.

         What these two examples demonstrate is that the essential
issue for America is always the economy as is security in Israeli national
elections. The people’s perception of the President’s stewardship of that
economy and his sensitivity to the needs of the common man trumped getting the
Iraqis out of Kuwait. Neither Mr. Carter nor Mr. Bush got the fact that Clinton
articulated so well. “It’s the economy, stupid.”  Thus, they were turned out of office in four
years. If you don’t get it, you’re gone. And you ought to be.

         Dr. DePinho does not get it and neither do his deputies.
Unfortunately, they appear to be accountable to no one.

          Faculty morale is not
the problem. It’s the symptom. The problem is DePinho’s heavy handed style, his
unethical behavior, his divorce from basic principles of civility, sensitivity,
fairness and adult comportment plus the general tendency to reward his friends
(and wife) and eliminate those he views as enemies, even if they are not, but
just disagree with him. Being disagreeing is not an option with this disagreeable
President of MD Anderson. It’s his way or the highway. Paranoia and megalomania
can do that.

         It has always been that way with MD Anderson Presidents.
They just used to be benevolent. Lately they are more characterized by
malevolence and/or incompetence.

         If four years were enough for Mr. Carter, and Americans
decided they were; and four years were enough for Mr. Bush, and Americans
decided they were; then it is more than enough for Dr. DePinho. The problem is
he is accountable to no one with any insight into what he is up to.  No responsible party seems to be aware of the
problems at Anderson. No one gets to vote him out of office and those who get
to vote seem unaware of the nature or depth of the problem in Houston despite
repeated visits by two different UT executive administrations. Stop with the
visits. Do something!

         What’s there not to get? The hiring of a potential Nobel
laureate is equivalent to President Bush’s victory in Desert Storm. Nice, but
what have you done for me lately? More importantly, what have you done TO me

         It is time for the UT Chancellor to act. No need for a site
visit. No need for additional feedback. Four climate surveys are enough. Time
for climate change.

         A recession is when your Division Head loses his job. A
depression is when you lose yours. A recovery is when Dr. DePinho loses his.

         It’s as simple as one-two-three-four—AND OUT!

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