Thursday, June 07, 2012

Politics Interlude

I wanted to comment on a couple of things that I have heard lately that seemed to cause some outrage...

First, a while back, Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, NJ (and possibly a super-hero) said something about not villain-izing private equity as a campaign strategy. He was immediately excoriated by the left and celebrated by the right for making the unforgivable mistake of questioning his own party. Keep in mind, what he said was "I love Obama, I believe in him and will continue to do all I can to get him re-elected because he is the far superior candidate. I just don't particularly like the criticism of an entire industry as a campaign tool."

Then, last week, Bill Clinton had the gall to suggest that Mitt Romney was smart, successful and qualified to be President. This was largely in response to a growing effort to claim that Mr. Romney was not as successful in his prior career as has been claimed...which, frankly, is an absurd claim. And again, his message was "Romney is a fine man and has a great resume, but I believe in Barack Obama's vision for America and his plans to move us forward."

Again, this was pounced upon by both the right and left with enormous gusto as if it were somehow a politically treasonous act.

People. Seriously. Chill the fuck out. It is actually possible to support a candidate for office without proclaiming his or her opponent the Anti-Christ. What Bill Clinton said is that a guy who made a fortune and defined an industry, lead a difficult turnaround of a quasi-government organization, served as Governor of a medium-large state and now secured the nomination of a major political party has met the criteria of "qualified" to be President. Not that he should be President, would be a good one, or has a good plan to be one...just that he has met what any reasonable person considers to be "qualified."

Honestly, I love what they both said because it is miles above the normal political discourse that we get. We should vote for people because we want them to be in office and we believe in their ideas, not because they did a better job of telling me how crappy the other guy is.

To take Clinton's statement a little bit further...there are 100 Senators, and maybe 50 living retired Senators. There are 50 governors and probably 100 living ex-Governors. If you exclude the ineligible (Jennifer Granholm and Arnold Shwarzenegger, for example), and then add in maybe 30-40 each of military leaders and business leaders, plus some others, and maybe the 50 most important Congresspeople, you get a pool of probably 500 people who are pretty objectively "qualified" to be President.

But we should be looking for a better standard than that. We should be looking for the 1 out of those 500 that would make the best President. No one should win election by essentially arguing "I meet the minimum standard and he doesn't!"...they should win it by telling us why they are the single best person.

And if it is somehow controversial for Bill Clinton to say "Of course Romney is qualified, but let me tell you why Obama is better," then we have no hope of ever getting to the sort of real, substantive discussions that we should be having.

There...done ranting!

1 comment:

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

You need to get this column printed in the WSJ, NY Times, Economist. Seriously good shit!