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How About Electing a Creative Thinker for President?

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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.

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About Lisa Solod

  • Clavos

    “Why has no one suggested boycotting foreign oil completely in order to get them off our backs?”

    Because foreign oil is nearly two thirds (60%)of our oil consumption?

    Boycotting it would stop our economy in its tracks, devastating virtually everyone in this country, and much of the rest of the world as well.

  • Baronius

    Lisa, the president is the last person who should be coming up with big new ideas. Most every time we’ve had a president who thought big, he did something terrible. The president should surround himself with good minds, certainly, and be willing to upset the applecart, but he shouldn’t be too far “ahead”.

    Governors should be thinking creatively. Congressmen and department Secretaries should always be considering new arguments and evidence. But the President? The guy lives in a bubble for four years. I don’t want to know what wacky, groundless ideas pop into his head.

    As for your first point, about offering huge benefits to the most efficient car, we already have dozens of car manufacturers competing for the billions of dollars they’d earn from a good design. There’s no way the government could come up with as much money for Toyota as they’ve made off of selling the Prius. But we do have competitions in academia, and among startup tech companies. And we do offer tax breaks and grants for alternative fuel research. And every day we get a little better results. It’s not big and showy, but government is doing all the things you want on this issue.

    Should we offer more funding, or more tax breaks? That’s a good question. It’s just that a 14% increase in funding over 5 years doesn’t sound like “creative thinking”. So ask yourself if you want flashy thinking or plodding success.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    I disagree that creative necessarily means wacko. Or ther results were terrible. That would mean that the thinking is not creative at all but simply off the wall for the sake of being off the wall.
    Sure, the prez should surround himself with good minds and he should be willing to listen to out-of-the-box ideas, offer some him or herself and try to figure out how to do things differently to get better results.
    I don’t want flashy thinking either, but why does creative mean flashy? Why can’t creative simply mean thinking long term, which NONE of our pols seem to do? Why can’t creative mean taking less for themselves and their pork and really doing what they have been elected and mandated to do? Serve the public interest.
    I don’t want the government to fund car manufacturing. I just don’t want them to fund oil production at any cost, over other fuel sources. And I maintain, as do many others, that we are way way behind the curve when it comes to coming up with a car like a Prius. We should have had that car thirty years ago. And I think we could have. Or something as efficient. We should be way beyond the Prius by now.

  • Baronius

    Aye, there’s the rub. We all want creative, good ideas from our president. But creative ideas are the riskiest. They’re untried.

    Take biofuels, for example. They seem like a great idea, for our nation and the world. Brazil followed it wholeheartedly, and is breaking all records for deforestation. Meanwhile, underdeveloped countries are having food riots. Wait till they figure out that rich countries are mashing up food and pouring it into their gas tanks.

    Look at some of the ideas you’ve floated, like doing your job and not profiting from public office. They’re great, essential ideas, but they’re not particularly groundbreaking.

    Do you know what the genius of the Prius is? For decades, we’ve been trying to develop a battery-powered car, but they lack speed and power. Toyota figured out a way around the problem: give the thing a gas engine. That’s brilliant.

    My (rambling) point is that the federal government is not the best place to test out big, brand-new ideas. The creative solutions are going to come from the researchers and scientists. There’s plenty of incentive to pursue good new ideas. Two of the more recent big, successful ideas were standardized software operating systems, and unassembled imported furniture. The guys who came up with those ideas made a bundle off them. On a side note, I hope the guy who made those little peanut butter cups they put in ice cream is a billionaire, because that’s the greatest idea ever. But I don’t know why we should expect creative thinking from a President.

  • Jonathan Scanlan

    Personally, I think it’s not so much that a leader is creative… though that is important…. but that they know a good idea when they see one.

    For me the real concern is when people talk about flip-floppers. I mean, what good is a leader who can’t change their mind? All they do is stay the course and ignore the damage being done in the process.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/ah_dowden AH Dowden

    “Why hasn’t anyone offered any company huge tax incentives to come up with an energy efficient car the fastest; like a contest?”

    They’re afraid to rock the boat? Force lobbyist money away from them? As long as there is a debate, the wellspring flows.

    “Why hasn’t anyone fixed the FDA? Or the USDA?”

    Government does not historically fix itself. That’s why we shouldn’t let the government expand itself. It never goes away, even if it’s a complete and total failure.

    “Why has no one suggested boycotting foreign oil completely in order to get them off our backs?”

    They will always set the price, and we need it. Something will have to challenge oil in the open market for anything to change.

    “Why are we sending out 600 dollar checks to people when the country is going bankrupt?”

    Because they are trying to keep the massive bubble they made from crashing too quickly. The longer we wait for the market to correct, the more it will hurt.

    “Why do we let big business run the show?”

    We allow our representation to get away with it. It’s American apathy and ignorance.

    “Where are the results from the money that went to private contractors in Iraq?”

    The results are dead Iraqis and some infrastructure.

    “How can we really fight two wars with our present army?”

    These aren’t wars. They are police missions. If the US chooses to engage in open warfare, somebody is in big trouble.

    “What is the big deal about getting national health insurance passed?”

    Because before my children graduate college, medicare/medicaid and social security will completely consume the entire federal budget. Not what is earmarked for entitlement programs, ALL of it.

    “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?”

    We don’t need these jackasses coming up with anymore great ideas. We need to demand common sense. It’s up to us. DC plutocrats like to pretend that these things are akin to quantum physics; they’re not.

    “Where are the iconolasts?”

    Afraid of Terror?

    “Where is the creative thinking by anyone in power?”

    It is driven by self-preservation ie; staying in a power position. They think creatively all the time. Only, they think about how to keep the game going and not about what may benefit their constituency.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    If those were police missions then Afghanistan and Iraq would be full of cops, not soldiers.

    There are different kinds of war, all the way from all-out global conflicts like WW2 down to fractious low-level guerrilla wars like Northern Ireland. These two are somewhere in between.

    Calling them ‘police actions’ is just propaganda designed to make us seem like less of an aggressor.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/ah_dowden AH Dowden

    Iraq is full of soldiers saddled with the ignorant responsibility of acting like cops. And by the way, we ARE the agressors. I’m not trying to propagandize anyone. What do you take me for a neo-con bushbot?

  • bliffle

    The Erronius One sez: “For decades, we’ve been trying to develop a battery-powered car, but they lack speed and power.”

    Wrong. Electric cars are quite speedy and powerful. Every even-numbered year at the Willits California Sun Festival (everything must be powered by solar) they demonstrate simple electric cars that easily out-drag every kind of IC car. Didn’t you ever ride in an EV1? That’s a great experience: silent power that beats everything else at the stoplight.

  • Clavos

    “Electric cars are quite speedy and powerful”

    They don’t have much range, though.

  • Clavos

    Addition to #10:

    The battery powered electric cars (which are the powerful ones) don’t have much range.

    Storage technology (particularly portable storage) is very far behind electricity production technology.

  • bliffle

    Clavos and Erroneous are so uninformed between them that it’s a bit like teaching kindergarden children the ABCs.

    Every year there are solar-powered races where all the vehicles are powered by available solar for hundreds and thousands of miles. Usually these are across various low population areas because they are experimental.

    Battery Storage Technology is improving all the time. Even John McCain recognizes that and proposed a reward for such a battery. Getting the same range as your SUV is probably not far off, if such a range is always needed, which it usually is not. 40-50 mile range is usually enough for errand vehicles, which most vehicles in a multi-car household are used for.

    Fuel cells can be thought of as high-capacity batteries, since they store energy in the hydrogen then extract it when combining with oxygen. At home, charging station electrolysis regenerates hydrogen from water using solar or household electricity.

  • Marcia Neil

    First, the Democratic Party should be sued senseless to free-up population brainwaves affected by the Clinton Candidacies fix.

  • Clavos

    You’re talking through your hat again, old man.

    “Battery Storage Technology is improving all the time. Even John McCain recognizes that and proposed a reward for such a battery.”

    Didn’t say it wasn’t, did I? What I said, which is true, (and why McCain made his offer) is that it LAGS FAR BEHIND the technology of producing electricity.

    As far as being good for 40 or 50 miles: that will (barely) get me one way to work, so I guess it’ll work for me, as long as I sleep in the office overnight, while the batteries recharge.

    Literally millions of people nationwide commute that far to work.

    When I show boats to clients, I often have to drive up to 500 miles in a single day; fat lot of good 40 or 50 miles will do me when I have to drive clear across the state and back.

    I’m sure long haul truckers and delivery route drivers are eagerly waiting to buy those batteries, too.