The fact that the American public elected a president in George Bush that they thought might not be any smarter than they were (and bragged about it with his C average at Yale) and that they thought it might be fun to go out for a beer with (were he still drinking, which he is not) means that we (although not me, as I did not vote for him either time) got what we deserved. A president who isn't any smarter than we are and who has offered no ideas that anyone with a modicum of intelligence could not have also thought up. If he even thought up any of them at all and didn't just rely on his "advisors" who, rumor has it, fed him just about every decision he made.
Heresy? To talk about a president in such a manner? Keith Olbermann has already raised the bar and I don't intend to raise it further. But I do wish to say that when I read the very sad stories (and they are truly tragic) of people caught in huge financial crises because of the decisions our government has made, one of my first thoughts is: but did you vote for this man? And why? And what did you really expect?
Now we have a chance to vote for a man who may well be more intelligent than most of the rest of us, although not all of us. He comes across as incredibly articulate, very educated and well reasoned. He is calm, and yet inspirational. All in contrast to another candidate who has, it seems, called his wife an awful name in public, has a very bad temper, can't seem to stay on task or keep one answer in his head long enough to get to the next one, and just may be suffering from PTSD from his heroic, yes, heroic, time as a prisoner of war.
And yet while I will vote for Obama, the smart one, I am not an acolyte. The jury is still out. What I want from a president (and also from state and local government) is someone, some ONE, with a new idea; with a real idea. Someone who thinks beyond the immediate fix, and to the large question, like my friends and I do. If we can discuss why the levees are like they are in the first place and why they haven't been tended to before another big flood, why can't the candidates? Why do we only hear about sending federal aid to fix a state problem of laziness and inadequacy? Why doesn't anyone but the print or internet media, and only occasionally them, take a harder look at what is going on and how to fix it, rather than just plaster on a Band Aid on and head to the next crisis?
Why hasn't anyone offered any company huge tax incentives to come up with an energy efficient car the fastest; like a contest?
Why hasn't anyone fixed the FDA? Or the USDA?
Why has no one suggested boycotting foreign oil completely in order to get them off our backs?
Why are we sending out 600 dollar checks to people when the country is going bankrupt?
Why do we let big business run the show?
Where are the results from the money that went to private contractors in Iraq?
How can we really fight two wars with our present army?
What is the big deal about getting national health insurance passed?
Why are congressman and senators so selfish and so bogged down by self interest that they can't even come up with ONE NEW IDEA?
Where are the iconolasts?
Where is the creative thinking by anyone in power?
If most of us ordinary worker bees performed as badly as the government we would have been fired long ago.
What I want from a president is creative thinking, real intelligence, thoughtful ideas and the will to see them through. Something more than attacks, soundbites, and the rest of it. That is what will inspire me.
I have no desire to go out for a beer with either candidate. But it would be lovely to have a president that I wouldn't mind having over for dinner and with whom I could actually have an interesting conversation.