Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Election 2012: A Tale of Two Americas

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Like everyone else who hasn’t been hiding under a rock for the past decade, I am familiar with the many issues which divide us – gay rights, abortion, taxes, healthcare, etc. etc.

However, while watching the presidential election coverage on CNN last night, I was struck by the more fundamental aspects of division that exist among us.

We are divided by where we live – rural America or urban America. Obama captured the vote in almost all the urban areas across the country (even in the red states) while Romney captured the vote in almost all the rural areas (even in blue states).

We are divided by who we are – white heterosexual males or not. Gay whites, women and non-whites went for Obama big time while white heterosexual males went overwhelmingly for Romney.

We are divided by how we dress – casually or formally. The folks at the Obama campaign headquarters were a colorfully dressed rag tag bunch while the folks at the Romney campaign headquarters were looking prim and proper in their pinstripe suits.

It does seem like some of us are clinging desperately to a past – where many lived off the land, white males were running the show and restrictive dress conventions were the norm.

Until everyone of us catches up and starts to live in the present, we’re going to continue to struggle to build a great future …

Government is tricky business!

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Romney makes much of his business credentials when asking for our vote. In doing so, he is following the well established game plan of other business leaders seeking to be elected. This is because of an accepted truth that a successful manager will also govern successfully.

I’d like to double click on that.

A business sells a product or a service. Managing a business involves dealing with three key constituents:
– Customers: buy the product or service
– Employees: build the product or deliver the service
– Investors: fund the business and gain/lose with its fortunes

Managers are appointed by only one of the constituents – investors. Therefore, successfully managing a business only requires managers to make their investors happy. This gives managers a clear mandate and simplifies decision making.

Now let us switch to the government and examine the situation there.

A government offers services. Governing involves dealing with three key constituents:
– Users: use government services
– Employees: deliver government services
– Payers: pay for government services

Governors are appointed by all three constituents. Users, employees and payers are all involved either directly or indirectly. Direct involvement comes through voting and indirect involvement comes through influencing the voting via ads or other means. Therefore, successful governing requires making all three constituents happy. This gives governors a very fuzzy mandate and complicates decision making.

Clearly, managing a business and governing are very different beasts.

In fact, I’d go as far as to say that successful managers make lousy governors. Here is why.

Successful managers tend to approach governing with a highly positive bias towards payers and a highly negative bias towards users and employees. Based on their own experience, successful managers feel payers are unfairly overburdened and therefore focus all their attention on minimizing the bill for payers. Also, the typical hubris in successful managers makes them take a dim view of users, creating a consequent focus on minimizing services for users. From the perspective of employees, successful managers tend to push pay-for-performance and outsourcing philosophies that don’t sit well and create new problems.

You can see this in play with Romney’s desire to cut taxes for the wealthy (big payers), his now famous quote on the “47% not paying taxes” (big users), his talk about reducing the influence of unions (pay-for-performance) and his ideas for privatizing services like medicare (outsourcing).

So the next time someone touts their business creds and wants your vote, just remember that government is tricky business!

Vote for me – boo hoo hoo

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

Hillary, please spare us the theatrics. We don’t buy the crocodile tears and sudden love for young people. And to the people of New Hampshire that actually fell for the theatrics and voted for Hillary – shame on you!

Maureen Dowd‘s excellent piece in today’s NY Times sums Hillary’s little stunt in New Hampshire very nicely.

People, we have a very unique opportunity to make history in America. We have a presidential candidate Barack Obama who truly reflects today’s America – a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic melting pot where everyone is free to pursue their own dreams. By electing Obama to the presidency, we can send a strong message to the world and in one fell swoop regain our rightful standing and respect in the global community.

Obama is intelligent and articulate. He inspires and energizes like a true leader should. I have no doubt he will continue to attract the best minds in our nation to come together and solve the many problems that confront us. Nobody else in the current crop of candidates on either side comes even close to offering the sort of promise Obama does. They are all a bunch of veterans that are entrenched in the status quo.

My vote is definitely for Obama.

Bill, if you’re reading this, you know who you really want to vote for 😉

Do as I say, not as I do

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

I thought I liked John Edwards until I just read this story on CNN. Here he is, talking about Americans being 4% of the population and generating 25% of the world’s greenhouse gases; advocating we not drive SUVs and so on. Turns out the dude lives in a 28,000 sq ft home! Talk about over consumption by any stretch of the imagination for a family of 5 people. When someone asked him about this – his defense is basically that he earned it – what a bloody hypocrite!

That does it for me – definitely not someone I’m wasting my time listening to …