Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Best Candidates We Have?

The new cover of the New Yorker has been reported in the media in some detail over the last 24 hours. In case you missed it, the New Yorker ran a cover that it claims is satire. It shows Barack and Michelle Obama in the Oval Office. Senator Obama is clad in Muslim garb, and Michelle is wearing militant gear. There is a picture of Osama bin Laden hanging in the background while an American Flag burns in the fire place. The Obamas are doing a fist bump in the center of the scene. The New Yorker has said they were poking fun at all of the rumors that have circulated about the Obamas.

In response, he Obama campaign has attacked the New Yorker. The campaign called the cover tasteless and offensive. It seemed to be yesterday's biggest news item. The entire day I wondered, "what will happen the first time a President Obama gets negative media?" Is it "Presidential" to attack the media because you don't like the way they portray you? How would Barack Obama handle a foreign leader going to the U.N. and calling him Satan? What happens when a Saturday Night Live skit portrays him as something other than the messiah?

During the last week I have also been disappointed with Senator McCain. Last week, McCain distanced himself from yet another adviser. It seems any time someone in McCain's camp, talk radio, or even the Republican party says something, McCain tries to prove he is still young by sprinting to the microphone to distance himself from that person. This time, it was Phil Gramm. Mr. Gramm had the tenacity (or audacity?) to say something that is actually worth considering. He said that we are currently in a "mental recession". He isn't the first to argue this point. Simply put, while the economy isn't perfect, it isn't in the "text book definition" of a recession either. Could get there, might not, but isn't there now. Many other people have debated this same point. Secondly, he said that we have become a nation of whiners. Once again, he isn't the first person to make this argument either. Senator McCain may not agree with the statements, but did it justify throwing yet another supporter under the bus?

I think both parties have failed to put their best candidate forward this year. We are probably headed for more moments like both of these over the next couple of months.


Kram said...

President Bush had one of his best responses to a question in his press conference yesterday that I have heard him make in a very long time. The question was...

"Why have you not sort of called on Americans to drive less and to turn down the thermostat?"

His response... "They're smart enough to figure out whether they're going to drive less or not."

That's what I'm looking for in a President and Leader. I don't need the government telling me that I need to drive less, I really am smart enough to figure it out.

I don't think McCain or Obama believe in Americans and the principles that make us so great!

Senior Lady said...

Kram, I disagree. A couple definitions of "leader"...one who guides; one who sets goals and, by exmple, leads others in the achievement of those goals.

No, we don't need to be told to do the obvious, e.g. drive less, turn down or up (in summer)the thermostat, etc. But, wouldn't it be nice if our President stepped up to set an example...."Im upping the White House thermostat one degree this summer, and ask all Americans who can to do the same." Whether we're talking using less gas, conserving energy, or any of the many challenges we face today, that kind of leadership unites us toward achieving a common goal. I want to see my President come forward in hard times for guidance toward solutions. That's a leader's job!

George Bush is sorely lacking in leadership skills and has done little to help unite this country toward any common goals.

Andy D said...

I would disagree with you Senior. I am not sure how big of an impact one degree would really make. Many Americans are trying to conserve on their own. President Bush has been putting pressure on Congress to open up drilling to increase oil supply. I think that is leadership on his part. He took a step and is encouraging Congress to do the same.

familyman said...

Andy, Opening up oil drilling in and of itself is going to do nothing to the price of gasoline.

One thing I do agree with from your post is that the Obama camp's reaction to the New Yorker cover was way off base.

To paraphrase something John Stewart said the other night.

It's disappointing to see Obama get upset about a cartoon portraying him as a Muslim extremist. Because you know who gets upset about cartoons? MUSLIM EXTREMISTS!

familyman said...

Just curious who you think was the best Dem candidate?

Andy D said...

Family, welcome back!

I disagree with you on your first point. I believe that simply showing a commitment to letting oil companies drill will lower the speculation price of oil. If we really do drill, the price could go down quite a bit.

I don't know who the best candidate from the Dems could have been. I think Barack could have been the worst. He has no resume or qualites to suggest he would make a good president. I was certain the Dems were going to pick someone with at least a little bit of experience.

Senior Lady said...

Where's the leadership in becoming less oil dependent, rather than in finding more? That should be the long-term goal....not opening up drilling.

As for Obama and the New Yorker cover, I agree that he overreacted, but I wish they'd leave his wife alone. She's not running for office. I don't see the same kind of focus on Cindy McCain.

Mr President said...

Andy's right about drilling for oil but for the wrong reason. It's got nothing to do with oil speculators, heck, I used to trade oil.

Speculative buying (just like short selling in equities) has been made the scapegoat when it's got nothing to do with the problem.

The stock market isn't falling because of short selling, and equally oil isn't rising because of speculation; it's the other way around.

What's causing it is a couple of things. Firstly the weak dollar policy that the US government has been following has backfired on it as it's pushed all of the commodity prices up.

Secondly there remain concerns over supply from the middle east due to the problems in the region. This is what makes it ironic when democrats complain about the war in Iraq and rising oil prices. Illogical to say the least.

Having said that, increasing supply should help as it will lessen reliance on the middle east and thus kill off at least the second of those reasons. The first can't be helped.

It will also put pressure on Opec to increase output themselves (and thus lower the price) as they won't want to lose out on business.

In fact even simply threatening to drill could've forced Opec's hand if Opec didn't know it was a bluff but with the democrats kicking up a stink that won't work now.

As for the Presidential race I'd have liked to have seen Rudy vs Hillary. Rudy was the best candidate for the Republicans and Hillary the best of a bad bunch for the Democrats.

familyman said...

Quote - His response... "They're smart enough to figure out whether they're going to drive less or not."

The problem with this thinking of course is that there are countless people out there who are doing all their driving between home and work. I know people that are spending over $400 a month just driving to and from work.

It's not like people can just choose not to drive to work.

The problem is that Bush has been saying since he got into office that reducing our dependence on fossil fuels was a top priority. And now almost 8 years later all he can think to do is drill for more Oil.

Christina said...

Yes, I would've absolutely loved to have seen a Rudy vs. Hilary contest!

Christina said...

The war in Iraq needs to be fought 'til we win, and I believe I've heard McCain say he won't pull out our troops until the job is done. For that reason, he'll get my vote.

Obama...I don't know what it is, but I don't trust him. I don't trust charisma, people get sucked in by it, and he has too much of it, I think.

Andy D said...

Mr. President, I didn't mean to put the blame on the speculators. My point was along the same lines. I was trying to say that if the speculators believe we are committed to increasing our oil supply, the price will drop. I also agree that a weak dollar is hurting us on both energy prices and food prices.

Familyman, the same thing can be said about the Democrats. Wasn't one of their main campaign issues in 06 lowering gas prices? I would love to see a comprehensive energy policy for our nation that includes reducing our dependence on oil. However, that policy has also got to include making use of the resources we have in the short time while we explore these other sources for the long term.

On another note, I think an all New York contest would have been interesting.

Christina, check out my latest post with my latest voting strategy.