Pointless political discourse

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, April 27, 2011, 7:46 PM | comments: 0

It sucks to be the president these days. In addition to dealing with the mess of several unfunded wars and an economy in the crapper, you have to deal with a political climate akin to grade school playground name calling. The real issues have no quick or obvious solutions, while the stupid parts just get in the way.

The whole "Obama isn't a US citizen" thing ranks as probably the most ridiculous thing hurled at a president in my lifetime. The worst part of it is that the fringe voices in the GOP, and its reality TV personalities (Palin, Trump) were the ones making this the biggest issue, with Fox News watching intellectual zombies playing into it. Speaker Boehner was smart enough to say it's a waste of time, but it's sad that even the most prominent Republican is being ignored by his own party. So when the president finally had enough, and sent his lawyer to Hawaii to get some kind of legal exception for a copy of the damn long-form birth certificate, he was dammed either way. Romney says it's a waste of time, while the reality show people ask why he didn't do it sooner. I'm with Romney, except that I don't recall him standing up and telling his colleagues to shut up and concentrate on real issues.

I think ultimately, sticking to facts and issues, to things that really matter, and avoiding stupid shit about personality and social causes that have no impact on government, can win an election. One might argue that Obama won on charisma, but Palin (and, uh, that guy she ran with) has plenty of charisma too. She's also about informed as a sock, and Americans didn't buy into it. It's a shame that the McCain of 2000 didn't come back in 2008.

At this point, I think Obama is doing a mediocre job. His approval rating with me is somewhere in the middle, because he hasn't been able to nut up and be the transformative president that I think he could be. He's just too careful. Maybe he has to be, to make those compromises to at least get something done, and that's unfortunate. I mean, I see the candidate still in there every now and then. We saw it in his speech in Arizona, demonstrating his ability to lift up and inspire people. Even better, his recent open mic recordings went to great lengths to show just how focused on issues he is. Why can't he be that way in the open? In that context, he sounds like a good manager who can get things done. It would probably piss off his opponents, but I think John Q. Citizen would respect that a lot more than dancing around trying to keep everyone happy.

I think about a meeting I had today in my new team, where we're debating a number of things with regard to our new product. We all have strong opinions about things, but ultimately we find flexibility in those opinions because we want to build something that kicks ass. It's a shame that government doesn't work similarly.


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