Who knew that when you got two legendary, ex-Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks jawboning about American politics, the tone would turn so gloomy, so fast? It happened today at a United Way luncheon program at The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, where interviewer Scott Murray asked Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman what they would do if they were president for a day.
“I’d raise taxes,” said Staubach, pausing for several long, excruciating seconds before adding: “Just kidding.” Staubach, who’s well-known for his Republican sympathies, went on: “I’m confused about fairness today. It is right to be fair. … I’m leaning toward the Republican side for fairness.”
“I wasn’t looking for a party thing,” Murray said. Retorted Staubach, smiling: “Why bring it up then?”
Next it was Aikman’s turn. “It’s hard not to be real cynical about the system,” Troy said. “… It’s discouraging.”
Aikman described how the promise of change that was heard four years ago hadn’t materialized, turning off those who wanted such change, and how the American political system crushes idealism. “I’m not optimistic,” he said. “I’m really concerned about this country. It’s not good.”
Troy’s pessimism seemed to get Staubach thinking.
“One thing that bothers me the most is how we demean each other,” Roger said. He cited the Republican presidential debates, when the other candidates joined in eviscerating Mitt Romney, only to recant and endorse him once he wrapped up the nomination.
“It’s demeaning to human beings to see what it takes to get elected,” Staubach continued. “That part of our political system does not show leadership — when you have to demean someone else. We have to overcome that. I think that leadership does not demean other people. I don’t think we have the leadership in this country that we need. But eventually, we will.”
In contrast to his line about raising taxes, Staubach got a big hand for that.
The two ex-QBs were at the luncheon to help launch the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas’s $25,000 Circle of the Ruth Sharp Altshuler Tocqueville Society, which they will chair. The Tocqueville Society is a group of heavyweight givers to the United Way. For years you’ve had to pony up at least $10,000 annually to be a Tocqueville member. The $25,000 figure ups the ante and is intended to encourage more giving.