Let’s talk about 1. leadership right after we talk about 2. Repetition of things not so factual and 3. toilet issues. OK we’ll start from the rear of the list—no pun intended (of course it was intended). I do not have a toilet in my house (there are 4) that works without issues. Sometimes they flush, sometimes they keep running, sometimes they need water, sometimes they are just not in the mood to be messed with. My brother says my toilet bowl Karma that needs work. I think it’s not about the karma. I need to find a good plumber—but who has time when you’re dealing with issues of greater importance like the facts, or lack of facts, or repeating fact’s that don’t make sense. Which brings us to McCain, who had a great week despite the facts—Obama is clearly not responsible for the oil crisis. Obama lost some numbers in the polls. We all know it’s very early and the polls so don’t matter, except within the context of a conversation about campaign strategy. So this morning when Robert Gibbs, (who used to be the Press Secretary and is now a senior strategist – titles are a whole other blob – was he demoted or moted, who can tell), said that McCain was not gaining ground, he was either in denial, uninformed, or telling a fib. But he repeated it so I guess he thinks the people who watch “Morning Joe” don’t read the papers or have any idea what the polling numbers are. (Even though these are people so well versed in everything political, that they could all be pundits—if only they knew a producer and had a book to sell.) The numbers are in and while McCain did not have a earth shattering gain, Obama has lost some ground since his return from abroad. And that’s not unimportant.
McCain – or Johnny one note, as we often call him (when we’re standing around at the gas station, poking fun at politicians and decrying the greed of the speculators and oil companies), has talked about nothing but drilling for more oil. It is mind boggling, but this cry for yet more dependence on the sticky substance, is resonating with the voters. “Drill, fool, drill,” seems to be catching on. Even in Florida, where elected officials have been adamant about not drilling off their coastline, the people are desperate enough to say—OK you want to drill, drill. (There’s that repetition thing again). And here’s the tragedy. If the oil companies spend more money drilling anywhere and everywhere they can, they will not have the money to invest in alternative fuel sources—which is exactly what they want. Never mind about where the deer and antelopes will play. It isn’t brain surgery. In one hand you hold a billion dollars worth of oil. In the other, the promise of maybe making a dime exploring alternative fuel sources. If you were the oil companies which would you choose?
Now let’s look at the third thing I wanted to blob about. Leadership. Leadership is defined in many ways but the definition I like from “dictionary.com” is “the ability to guide, direct or influence people.” It can also be “the head of a political party or group”, but this second definition is really old think. In order to be a leader, you have to be the in a leadership position or head of something. A bit chicken and egg wouldn’t you say. Every time I hear a McCain commercial or a Republican talking head say, “We don’t know if he’s a leader. We don’t know if he can lead”. I think, why aren’t the Obama people talking about the millions of people who have never been involved in politics before and now they have not only taken an interest, they have become Obama activists. He had the ability to lead them into a he world of “Yes we can”. He has shown them that he does have the vision and (if you judge by the trip overseas) the ability to lead this nation into better relationships with people from around the world. In order to be a leader today you need to understand where new technologies can “lead” you and you need to understand the possibilities of an interconnected globe. A leader does not expect you to follow blindly. A leader is not inflexible in the policies they have espoused when they turn out to be wrong. A leader is not afraid of change for the better. A leader does not hide behind experience because they are afraid of an alternative—much like the fuel we hold so dear. So is Obama a leader? I think so.
When Obama says, “We are who we are waiting for,” the media ridicule the statement with lots of, “What the heck does that mean it’s so cerebral it reeks of elitism and nonsense.” I don’t agree. If we spend our lives waiting for someone to come and save us—we will wait forever. But if we realize that as a nation if we work together we have the power to find solutions, we will find them. Telling people that they need to work to make change, that there is no magic bullet (rather than promising them an easy but unrealistic and dishonest fix), is a sign of someone with the courage to lead. I don’t know why the Obama campaign is not out touting his leadership skills. Once again, the Republicans are crafting the message and the Democrats are trying to respond. But unless they get out in front of the rhetoric, I’m afraid Senator Obama will spend another few years in the Senate—and everyone I talk to will be moving to Italy—where there certainly are political problems but at least you can’t get a bad meal. We're just sayin...