I’d like to file a missing persons report. It’s the liberal media. I can’t find them anywhere!

I keep hearing that “the media” has a liberal bias. I hear it from every radio talk-show host, every television commentator, and a lot of print columnists. So here’s my question: If every radio talk-show host and television talking head complains about the liberal media, doesn’t that mean there aren’t any liberal radio talk-show hosts or television talking heads?

I’m just asking.

If there were a liberal media, we’d have at least a few media pundits promoting the most fundamental premise of liberal political philosophy: That the government has a valid and useful role to play in modern society.

But what does this have to do with your job running an IT organization? This is, after all, Keep the Joint Running, not All Things Considered. The answer is, lots, because it turns out Larry Ellison’s bid to take over PeopleSoft, which was very funny in a dark kind of way when we thought it was a joke, is serious. The conservative philosophy of politics dictates that if Oracle can muster the money and votes, that’s all there is to it. The IT and business press apparently accept this thought process without question. There have been one or two off-hand comments speculating how “regulators” — especially European regulators — might react, but not a single opinion piece thus far has even raised a point that even ten years ago would have been central to the discussion:

Whether this attempted acquisition serves the best interests of the American public, and if not, whether the federal government should prevent it. If any liberal voices remained, they would have at least asked the question.

The American public, in this case, is you, and in your role as the leader of an IT organization, this acquisition certainly isn’t in your best interests, either individually or corporately. Here’s what will happen if it succeeds:

  • If you’re a current PeopleSoft customer, you’ll endure the cost of a conversion — a huge expense that creates no value of any kind.
  • If you’re an Oracle customer, instead of Oracle’s profits being reinvested in its products it will be reinvested buying PeopleSoft.
  • If you’re an SAP customer and are, for some reason, seriously dissatisfied, imagine the response when you threaten to take your business elsewhere. Hysterical laughter?

A decade ago, the Federal Trade Commission would probably have suggested, gently but firmly, that it would administer a fair process that took everyone’s interests into account, meaning Oracle would have a difficult case to make. Today? Does anyone really expect the FTC to do anything other than sit on one thumb, suck the other, and play switch?

The job of business is to look out for the best interests of shareholders. The job of government is to look out for the best interests of the country and its citizens — the public good — or at least that would be the position of political liberals, were there any left now that Paul Wellstone is dead.

Which leaves it up to you. If you’d prefer that Oracle win or lose in the marketplace instead of beating its competitors by buying them in order to shut them down, here’s what you can do.

If you’re an Oracle customer, call your sales representative and Larry Ellison’s office to let them know you’d prefer they spend their money fixing their product line and offering better service, and if they won’t do that, you’ll consider a conversion to SAP.

If you’re a PeopleSoft customer, call Larry Ellison’s office and explain that should Oracle buy PeopleSoft, your most likely course of action will be to convert to SAP.

If you’re CIO of a Fortune 50 corporation, contact the folks who handle your company’s lobbying efforts, and ask them to use their clout to help block this deal before it goes any further. Don’t worry — this won’t make you a liberal. Lobbying the federal government to act in favor of your company’s best interests is in the best tradition of conservative politics.

And finally, if you’re Bill Gates … drop a few hints that you’re planning a hostile takeover of Oracle.

Now that would be funny.