Monday, September 29, 2008

What a Day for Leadership!

So, in the roll call vote 2/3 of the Republicans and 40% of the Democrats took the no-risk route and voted their politics today. So, predictably, Obama and McCain blamed each other and each other's party. Leadership is risky; that's why there's so little of it, including from either of them. They played it as safe as they could. If either Obama or McCain saw this as a defining moment for their candidacies, or for their character, one in which we could tell if they had any political courage, if they would really put the broader interest ahead of their own narrow political interest, he could lock this election up. Memo to Barak and John: Go to DC, make phone calls, use your political capital and the possibility that you will be in the White House come January to cajole, pressure, harangue and do whatever else is necessary to pick up those handful of votes. No one knows if the bill will work. All we know is that the best minds that could be put together think it is their collective best guess. That's all it is. Just a guess. Not a solution. Just an experiment. But at the moment that we are looking to see what is inside each of them, neither John McCain nor Barak Obama has been willing take the risk this close to the Holy Grail of the Presidency, putting themselves on the line for the bill that might well would lose them votes and not prove a winning position on November 4. But that is par for the course. In the foreign policy debate last week, both steered away from anything that could blow up on them - like a nuanced view of the Middle East - and cited differences only where they were sure that those differences would accrue to their benefit. And there have been big issues all along that they have both ducked because they did not see them as wedge issues. The abandonment of New Orleans after Katrina is a national disgrace. It is a huge opportunity to show that we really do care about each other. And saving Social Security is too hot to handle. that's an opportunity to show that we really care about our kids and their kids. I have much more confidence in the American voters than either John McCain or Barak Obama seem to exhibit in their campaigns, with their distorting ads and their running away from the tough issues. How much worse does it have to get before they are willing to put it on the line?

1 comment:

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