LTC's smart choice for president
James M. Berklan
By the time you're reading this, the nation could have a much better idea who will be slinging mud at one another this fall for the top office in the nation. One way or another, it's not looking good for long-term care interests. Unless I get my way.
Yesterday — Super Tuesday — was supposed to go a long way toward determining odds-on frontrunners for November. Unfortunately, in this odds-defying campaign season, it's also safe to predict there will still be plenty of fight left in numerous candidates. That means even more fingerpointing, bullying, trash talking and name-calling.
So far, especially on the Republican side, it's become an anguished “Did he really say/do that?!” kind of experience.
The Democrats' quandary hasn't been much more savory. Go with the groomed candidate with boulder-sized credibility problems or the older (too old? Gasp!) feisty reformer whose generosity knows no bounds — nor apparent basis in fiscal reality.
We'd like to think America — land of the free-for-all and home of the brave — can do better. While not needing to go all “Downton Abbey” with overly correct politeness, it would seem citizens of the world's superpower should at least put an adult's name at the top of its stationery.
Bonus points if he or she knows anything about long-term care. None of the current candidates have shown much that they do.
Face it: Most of the current presidential candidates don't seem to know Medicare from Medicaid, or they're at least too chicken to come out and say anything significant about them.
It probably doesn't fit into the schedule when there are potshots to take at each other and outlandish "image building" to do. (Actually, we'll give Kasich and Sanders a leg up on the others since they cared enough to at least take part in the recent Seniors Decide 2016 forum organized by the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations.)
But it hardly seems enough.
Can't we just urge Larry Minnix out of retirement? Everybody seems to like him, and we know he fully understands the issues that the elderly and their caregivers face.
And he wouldn't necessarily be too soft on them. For many years, he has emphasized that there should be only two kinds of nursing homes: “the excellent and the extinct.”
“Give 'em hell, Larry!” kind of has a ring to it, doesn't it?
It's been two solid months since he officially stepped down as president and CEO of LeadingAge amid wide acclaim. That's plenty of time to have recharged the batteries, filled the veins with sweet tea and homemade barbecue, and eyed new challenges.
In 15 years at LeadingAge, Minnix became well known for his aw-shucks demeanor, something that allows him to take advantage of anyone underestimating him. Putin, the smug commie strongman, would never see him coming.
Unrest in the Middle East getting worse? Let Minnix, the white-haired sage with a divinity degree apply his Southern charm. It wouldn't be unprecedented, after all, to put a smiling Georgian in the White House.
When world tensions would get too great, perhaps a blues concert featuring Jim Belushi and his belly bumping partner, Larry, could loosen things up.
We could certainly do worse … and likely will.
James M. Berklan is McKnight's Editor. Follow him @JamesBerklan.