Always Be Closing

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Breaking Down Obama’s Spending Plan and Cuts During Second Term

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Breaking Down Obama’s Spending Plan and Cuts During Second Term

Former Clinton advisor Simon Rosenberg on the president’s plan to cut spending and reduce the deficit.

The night before the election, the Manhattan Institute held a dinner at which the great playwright David Mamet was honored. You may have seen a movie made from Mamet’s most famous play “Glengarry Glen Ross.” It’s about an avaricious group of real estate salesmen, the most successful of whom had a saying which became the play’s theme: “Always be closing.” That is, with every breath you take as a salesman, you have to be working to close the sale.

After his speech, I got Mamet to sign a playbill from the Broadway revival of his play, and sure enough, above his signature he wrote: “Always be closing.”

Maybe it was just the timing of my brief meeting with Mamet, but that saying stuck in my head today while meditating on the failure of the Romney campaign.  Mitt wasn’t always closing. Sometimes he appeared more concerned with maintaining his own stature (different from maintaining your dignity) than he was about making the sale, as if the sale wasn’t worth getting himself dirty for. That’s not a winning attitude.

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You may think it’s crass to talk about making a sale in an election. It should be all about high ideals and character. Well yes, but there’s nothing wrong with being a salesman, either…unless you’re a dishonest one. You can always be closing while always being honest, even if not all salesmen are.

But you can’t sell what you don’t have. And while Ronald Reagan burned inside with an enthusiasm for the core values of this nation, Mitt’s fires weren’t strong enough to light the nation…or at least more than half of it. In order to make the sale, you have to care more about what you’re selling than you do about yourself. And while it’s difficult sometimes to believe that President Obama cares about anything more than his own image, he certainly sells his message with the passion of a true believer.


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