Leading Democratic pollster and political strategist, Stan Greenberg is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. Greenberg has served as polling advisor to President Bill Clinton, President Nelson Mandela, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Prime Minister Ehud Barak, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, and their national campaigns.
Greenberg’s work for private sector organizations – including major corporations, trade associations and public interest organizations – focuses on managing change and reform.
Greenberg is the author of Middle Class Dreams, published by Random House in 1995, which explores the political challenges of social and economic change. He regularly addresses corporate audiences on the changing environment in which they operate. Greenberg’s research is some of the most widely cited in the national media.
1. What’s your favorite political movie?
The Candidate. Very early on captured the tension between idealism and ambition and the role of an amoral but smart consultant who exploits it. The final question of the movie, What Do we Now?, set up much of the ambivalence many now feel about politicians and what guides them.
2. What role do you feel art plays in politics?
With email chains and virtual video, there is so much penetration of arts and culture into the campaigns — as they find audiences in ways not possible in the old forms of communication. But some movies have broken through more broadly, like Wag the Dog, and West Wing, as voters look for leaders who might act in the public interest.
3. What do you think is the biggest issue for the next generation of Americans?
The economic crisis has hit young people hard and the worry about jobs and what hope America offers. Young people are still more optimistic than other voters but this crisis and the last years of stagnation have led many millions to now step up to change things through politics.
4. Who was the first political candidate you were excited to vote for and why?
Robert Kennedy. He was the last national leader who really united black and white for progressive goals for the country. He spoke of inequality and injustice and acted bravely and elegantly. He touched people, even when he went to South Africa to express our conscience at a time that it was under assault in the US and South Africa.
5. What factors are important to you in choosing a president?
Want somebody who will be bold and understand the scale of what our country faces.
6. What issues would you like to see politicians focus more on?
If I could choose one thing, I want a president who will see energy independence and global warming as requiring a war-like mission, somebody who will spur the country to unite behind this cause.
And I need for them to think about inequality and what kind of country we have if we continue on the current course.
7. Which issues would you like to see politicians focus less on?
Junk issues that distract us from the issues the president will have to face after the election
8. Which candidate’s initiatives do you feel better address environmental concerns?
Not drill, baby, drill. I’m intrigued by natural gas a transition to a clean energy policy, but the most important thing is presidential leadership that mobilizes the country and gives us the credibility to address the China and India problem. There is no solution to global warming without bringing those countries along.
9. This is your soapbox – shout it out! What do you need to get off your chest?
I’m tired of timidity in politics.