April 3; Help a Friend To Avoid Problems
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful


Chapter Four: Relationships; 3 April

Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.

Proverbs 2:11

Help a Friend To Avoid Problems


Jesse Brown Secretary of Veterans Affairs (b.1944 - d.2002)

Jesse Brown
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
(b.1944 – d.2002)

My friend and mentor Jesse Brown died in 2002. I’m not sure I thanked him enough while he lived. So I try to acknowledge him in other ways since he passed.

He died of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Save for the Hand and plan of Divine Providence, the combat wounded Marine could have died decades earlier in Vietnam.

He survived and devoted his life to service to others and mentoring goofs like Your Business Professor.

And he accomplished much in the federal government — in what he did. And didn’t do.

Jesse Brown was able to do two things few bureaucrats have been able to do:

Close a government facility, and

Say No to President Clinton.

Jesse Brown managed to do something many government watchdogs felt impossible: As Secretary of Veterans Affairs in the Clinton administration, he worked with veterans’ lobbies and closed out-dated or non-performing Veterans Administration (VA) medical facilities.

These days when a government building or base needs to be closed, a special commission is set up to spread the guilt and minimize finger pointing.

Jesse Brown closed government buildings. Unbelievable. And he was a Democrat.

But an even bigger achievement was his ability to refuse Bill Clinton. Over lunch Secretary Brown told me the story of how he tactfully, adroitly rebuffed the president’s “requests” to cut the VA budget.

Jesse Brown did not succumb to Clinton’s charms and was not a party to the Lewinski lies.

As Brown tells the story, the chief of staff, Leon Panetta, called Jesse and instructed him to initiate and implement a sizable cut in his budget–and then take the ensuing political heat, sparing the president any collateral damage from veterans’ groups.

Brown declined.

So Panetta then puts the president on the phone to work his charm as only Clinton could…

[Your Business Professor once worked with a beautiful young woman from Arkansas — a rock-ribbed conservative — who met Bill Clinton.

“It was the strangest thing,” she said. “He ignored the whole rest of the room, looked deep into my eyes and asked for my vote.”

I didn’t move. It wasn’t too hard to see where this was going. “What did you say?” I held my breath.

She said, “I told him ‘yes.’ It was like he hypnotized me. I said yes…”

She wouldn’t be the last.]

…Panetta knowing that no one could resist Bill Clinton; no one could say ‘no.’

So Bill and Jesse had an extended conversation and Clinton oozes and slides all around the topic — but never makes a direct statement; never a suggestion; never a directive.

The President was simply smarmy and Jesse was un-seduced.

“Great talking with you Jesse,” said Clinton.

“Great talking with you Mr. President,” said Brown. And White House Signal signed off.

Jesse might well have been the only man to say “No” to Clinton.

Proverbs 2:11 says, Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.



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