Archive | September, 2008
30 Sep

The September 26 United States Presidential debate:

 

Two nice men faced each other for a little over ninety minutes. They were civil, accommodating, but lacking in vision. Some of what was lacking might have been the result of moderator’s questions, some clearly due to limitations of the candidates.

 

The first question that came to my mind: Are these the best and the brightest?

 

This is not to question the innate intelligence, or acquired knowledge of the two men, but a concern that lacking is the creative brilliance, the vision, and the instinct that makes mortal man into great leaders, and the United States needs a great leader.

 

The debate did not enhance, or detract from the already accepted notion that Barak Obama is a great orator. Senator Obama, however, is much better at giving speeches, than he is in debates. The debate did not serve to change the perception that Senator McCain is a nice person with vast and unique experience, but not a man with a vision. The debate, in other words, did not change “the balance of power.”

 

Both candidates were well rehearsed, both committed to memory many facts, including names that they will not remember, nor need to know, tomorrow. 

 

The purpose of a Presidential debate is two fold. The debate is designed to demonstrate to the public a candidate’s demeanor, and ability to function under pressure; and it is intended to display the candidate’s knowledge and ability to deal with facts that may affect the nation.

 

Barak Obama, who has proven once, and once again, that he is an extraordinary public speaker, was expected to excel in the area of presentation and performance. It was expected that John McCain’s [much] longer experience would show. Since the demeanor is what audiences see, hear, and feel, it was presumed that Senator Obama would wipe the floor with Senator McCain; that did not happen. It was surprising to see how, in spite of his age; Senator McCain did not appear less poised, or less capable of dealing with the audience.

 

Since in real life quality of presentations matters only if it affects the effectiveness of what is being communicated, one must give much more weight to content when choosing a President. 

 

Neither candidate dealt effectively with the financial crises. Obama, more than McCain, missed the fact that the present crises are only a symptom of a much deeper problem. The present situation is critical, but it is less critical than is the problem behind it. It is very important to realize that even if the present financial situation is corrected, its cause will likely bring about other catastrophic events.

 

The root of present day financial meltdown is in the foundation of the economy. Modern economies are propelled by energy, and in the short-term the United States energy supply is in trouble. Both candidates touched on the issue, but both candidates dealt with long-term solution, while they are facing an immediate short-term calamity.

 

September 30, 2008

 

The US House of Representatives finally showed some responsibility by turning down the bailout package. Following are some scenarios that suggest the rejection was appropriate in spite of some added short-term problems on the public and financial institutions,

 

In order to not deviate from dealing with the Presidential debate, each situation must be limited in scope. Assuming that the bailout does what it is intended to do, what if:

 

  • 2008 and 2009 are cold years, oil supplies are low and consequently the price of a barrel of oil reaches $200.00, and a price of $9.00 per gallon of gasoline at the pump:
  • OPEC decides to cut production, or even only Chavez in Venezuela cuts supplies to the US
  • A major hurricane shuts down US oil refineries
    • No airline is likely to survive
    • The trucking industry would be in shambles and the prices of whatever they ship will be out of reach for most consumers.
      • Layoffs in the transportation industry would be devastating
    • The inability to heat homes in the colder parts of the country would cause illnesses and a significant added costs to the healthcare system.
    • Utilities cost would be staggering causing many businesses to shut down, and additional layoffs.

 

What do we do?

 

Without getting into details, unless the United States is able to come up with a short-term solution to energy supply, the bail out would be paramount to putting a band-aid on a malignant cancer.

 

McCain appeared more attuned to the time constraints than Obama. Obama was talking about energy independent in some years; McCain did address off shore drilling, nuclear plants, and new refineries.

 

Energy as the foundation of the economy will require a President with a unique ability to deal with highly complex problems. To deal with the short-term energy problems the United States will have to find a way to get additional supply from those sources that are presently producing refined oil and are in a position to immediately increase production.

 

The other part of the debate dealt with security, and foreign policy. The candidates did not seem to understand in depth the present day interrelations between security and oil dependency. They spoke of Al Queida, Middle Eastern countries, China, North Korea, and Russia. A great deal was said about Russia, which appears to changing into rogue dictatorship under Vladimir Putin.

 

Both candidates demonstrated that they were recently schooled on the subject of foreign policy.

 

Some items of note:

 

  • Neither candidate tied economic, security, and foreign policy, together.
  • Obama was talking about the failed economy of the last eight years. Not to excuse President Bush, a recession started, ENRON was in place, Bin Ladin was active, and energy policy missing before George W. Bush took office.
  • McCain’s point that for the President of the United States to hold direct negotiation with the likes of Ahmadinejad without pre-conditions would lend Ahmadinejad undue credibility was well made.
  • Since OPEC (with such rogues as Chavez and Ahmadinejad,) and Russia may hold the key to short-term energy solutions, Obama’s insistence that discussion is in order makes sense. When he mentioned that a number of ex Secretaries of State agreed McCain went on a meaningless tangent about being a friend of Henry Kissinger.

 

CNN was the big loser. Blitzer and company ineptly interpreting for members of the audience what they heard. Then, the CNN highly biased “pundits,” continuously self-proclaimed that they make up: “The best political team on television;” when in reality that statement is arrogant fantasy of a very [intellectually] mediocre group of biased individuals.

 

There was no outright winner; yet by virtue of not capitulating but rather keeping up with the great orator that Obama is, McCain deserves to be declared the winner.

Bill Clinton hindrance to Obama

11 Sep

The Clinton element will not likely be favorable to Barak Obama,

 

As a campaigner for Barak Obama President Clinton would likely be a liability, not an asset. Clinton’s oversized ego would prompt a support of Obama to be overshadowed by suggestions that Obama greatness is not quite on par with his own self.

 

The Clintons aura is so overwhelming that even Senator Biden was saying how great a President Hilary Clinton would have made, and that she rather then himself should have been appointed the Vice Presidential candidate.

 

Barak Obama would be wise to count on his own self and stay as far as he can from the Clintons. As much as the Clintons may be able to help, it is clear that their own self-interests would take precedence of those of Senator Obama.

Oprah, Palin, and Color:

9 Sep

Can any rational human being doubt that if Governor Palin were a “woman of color,” she would not be immediately invited to appear on the Oprah Winfrey show, and not have to wait until after the election?

In my opinion, it is Oprah’s highly publicized endorsement of Barak Obama that, in large part, made the 2008 United States Presidential contest into a racial affair.

Oprah Winfrey is entitled to her opinion, but being the public person that she is, should have shown more restraint and not be so openly racially biased.

Candidate familieas: A part of the process…

7 Sep

Presidential candidates and families are a unit; families cannot be left out of the Presidential election process!

 

Suggesting that Presidential candidate should no be scrutinized, or discussed by the media is a bogus issue. If a candidate teach, or control actions of members of the family, how could one manage the affairs of the nation?

 

This item is not designed to single Sarah Palin. Governor Palin, however, is an obvious example of how families of candidates matter. If parents cannot teach off springs how to behave, or not to behave, how can they be expected to manage the affairs of the nation. Managing the behavior of a seventeen year old should not be more difficult than managing cabinet members, of a number of Generals.

Obama must learn to speak TO, not at, the people…

7 Sep

Jesse Jackson said it, and most people recognize it: Barak Obama speaks over, and at the people, not to the people. Senator Obama does not speak TO the people, as one must do in order to be heard in a democratic election.

Obama criticized the Republicans for dealing with the voting public as if it is “stupid.” In reality, it is he, the great orator is the one who make his audiences feel stupid by not speaking directly to them, but rather at them. This habit is an implication that I don’t speak [directly] to you because you are not smart enough to understand the [uniquely] smart me.

Obama was called an elitist, which he may or may not be. Be that as it may, his manner of speaking does make him appear as an [intellectual] snob. The Illinois Senator may not actually be a snob, but his oratorical gift clearly makes it appear as if he is aloof and stays away from communicating to, or with “the common man.”

When in small crowds Obama responds to participants questions with orations, rather than by simple words is a quite voice. The Obama handlers may recognize the problems and because of that decided to keep him away from debating McCain in a town-hall format. Staying away from the format, however, is not the answer. To be an effective politician in a representative democracy, Barak Obama must learn how to communicate directly with the people.

Obama and Palin: The Untouchables?

4 Sep

If everything else was equal except that she was a male, would Governor Sarah Palin been given serious considerations as a United States Vice Presidential candidate?

 

If everything else was equal except that he was a white rather than a black American, would Senator Obama been given serious consideration as a United States Presidential candidate?

 

When Geraldine Ferraro suggested that Obama could not have been selected the Democrat Presidential candidate if everything else was the same except that he was a white, not a black, man, she was labeled a racist.

 

Borrowing from Hans Christian Andersen the Emperor’s New Cloth”; and seeing through what is, or isn’t, politically correct, one must say that: If not for Obama’s black skin, and Palin’s being a woman, neither person would have likely been selected as a candidate for the two highest offices in the land, by a major United States political party.

 

As much as the media and politicians like to say that the election is about issues and policies, and not about race and gender, they are wrong. Race and gender play a major role in American politics, and will likely continue to do so for many years to com!

Palin: On target? Is democracy failing?

4 Sep

When Governor Palin stated that her is a typical family, she might have hit the nail on the head.

The world does not need, does not want, the typical.  Today’s harsh environment requires the OUTSTANDING, not the typical, it requires excellence, not mediocrity!

With the country, and the world, in turmoil, can the United States afford another mediocre, or perhaps below, person in the White House?

The answer, of course, is no, a resounding no! So why are we having four mediocre candidates out of the 400 million American on this earth?

The 2008 US Presidential election may indeed be historic with a talented woman running as a Republican, a very intelligent Mulatto as a Presidential candidate, and an old man with impacable character as a Presidential candidate; but can it be expected to yield the best President the country has to offer?

Is the still fledgling American Democracy that is at an [historically] embryonic stage proving to be an experiment too confining to allow for the best of the best to emerge? Is the American experiment in Democracy failing?

Mediocrity, or: The least Unqualified for President?

4 Sep

It is scary to look at America, the United States of America, and accept that the richest and more powerful country in the world, with its 400 million people, can only come up with four Presidential/Vice Presidential candidates that among them have less than two years of total civilian experience. The four candidates bring to the table a number of positive assets, not any, however, that qualify them to hold the most powerful position in the world.

John McCain offers a long history of public service and courage to the table. Barak Obama brings a God-given gift of oratory. Joe Biden boasts an outstanding history of serving in the United States in the Senate, while Governor Sarah Palin, brings her experience as twenty months of Governing Alaska, and having, what she calls, and a typical family.

Recent history suggests that sitting United States Senators do not succeed as Presidential candidates. One may wonder why the two leading Presidential candidates, and one of the Vice Presidential running mates are US Senators?

The second leading Vice Presidential candidate is a Governor of a States. Of the three Presidents that were ex Governors, two were abysmal failures; the third became a Republican icon. George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter were two of the most unpopular candidates in the history of the United States. Ronald Reagan was a horse of different color. In addition to having experience as a Governor, President Reagan was a gifted communicator who knew how to speak to the American electorate.

The 2008 United States Presidential election may be a historic event. The first man of color (Obama is NOT, as the media refers to him a black-American, he is a Mulatto, or a man of color) is a major party Presidential candidate. John McCain, an elder statesman who will be the oldest person to become a US President heads the Republican ticket. Governor Sarah Palin is the first woman Vice Presidential candidate on the Republican ticket, a Joe Biden, a very nice man who destroyed a future as President when in his first try he plagiarized a speech from a British politician.

The fact that the four candidates are making history notwithstanding, as potential leaders of the free world, individually, or collectively, they are the epitome of mediocrity. Governor Palin described the situation well when she said that her is a typical family.

These are difficult times these are times to rise to new heights. When energy resources are out of control, when crazies like Vladimir Putin are flexing their muscles, when Ahmadinejad vows to destroy Israel, America’s closest ally, and when global stability is at risk, the world need standout leadership from the United States, not mediocrity!  

Obama versus McCain: Of the people?

1 Sep

With little or no “Convention bump,” one may ask: Who is more of the people, the Democrats, or Republicans?

The Choice of an 80,000-seat football stadium to display their candidate suggested that Democrats are more into show than the serious business of the Nation. At a time when the United States is in an economic crunch, people around where the Convention was held having home foreclosures, jobs lost, and standard of living falling like a rock, showing the glitz and spending the money on the Convention was not a display of good judgment, or of having compassion for the people they wish to represent.

In a start contrast were the plans for the Republican Convention that were modest and business-like. The Republican Convention was further helped by Hurricane Gustav, an act of nature that played a hand in getting Senator McCain to show his priorities: The interest of the public ahead of partisan politics.

Did times change the nature of the two parties? Did events? Or, are we seeing the natural evolution that reflects a changing society?

Or, are we simply witnessing two personalities who represent their parties?

Barak Obama, the Democrat: The charismatic orator, the showman, and in spite of having a modest beginning, the elitist, the man who loves crowds, and who seems to thrive on the recognition that comes with celebrity,

 Versus

The Republican, Senator John McCain: The sober person from an elitist background, but one who seems to be in touch with the common-man and not comfortable in large crowd settings.

Is the historic perspective of Democrats being of the people, while Republicans being the wealthy elite, change?

Democrats: Divine intervention or venue?

1 Sep

Was the fact that the Democrats not get a Convention bump due to poor choices, or divine intervention?

 

Placing the Convention in an 80,000 capacity football stadium, a venue suited for an entertainer, or some charismatic Evangelist, but not for the serious business of the nation, and then adding a level of gaudy glitz might have shown the American public that the Democrats may not be the party of the common man as it once was.

 

Going into the Convention while trying to shed off the “celebrity” label, Obama and his people should have shown more prudent choice of venue, and amore modest setting. While the United States is in the midst of serious problems, flaunting it in a political Convention was likely a poor display of judgment.

 

As if the Creator decided to play a hand in the American democratic process, Hurricane Gustav arrived. Even though the Republicans showed better judgment by planning a much less glitzy event than the Democrats, Hurricane Gustav ensured that their Convention would be a modest event. In parallel of that, Senator McCain selected a true person of the people as his Vice Presidential candidate.

 

Like Joe Biden, who is also of a modest background, Sara Palin, in spite of being the Governor of a State, still lacks the celebrity of Joe Biden, a visible and popular United State Senator. All of a sudden, it is starting to appear that the Republicans are much more in touch with the common-person than are the Democrats.