Monday, November 24, 2008

Obama's Team of High Achievers

In a November 21st editorial in the New York Times, David Brooks gives high marks to Barack Obama's picks for his Brain Trust.

He writes, "Even more than past administrations, this will be a valedictocracy — rule by those who graduate first in their high school classes...the team he has announced so far is more impressive than any other in recent memory."

He goes on to point out they are smart, open-minded people persuadable by evidence, admired professionals, not excessively partisan, not idealogues, and practically creative.

That's pretty high praise from a person who is identified as a conservative.


Hopefully given time Barack Obama will have a better response than our current President who, after five years in office, told a German newspaper his best moment, "was catching a 7 1/2 pound bass on my lake."

A couple of weeks ago George W. Bush told a CNN interviewer, "My wife reminded me that, hey, as president of the United States, you better be careful what you say."

Here's a link to the CNN video - YouTube - Bush: I have regrets!

In the interview George Bush admits he made some mistakes - not mistakes in foreign policy, tax policy, the environment, education, health care, war, or anything like that - but things he said like "dead or alive", "bring it on" - or standing in front of the "Mission Accomplished" sign on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. It comes across to me as totally self-centered and lightweight - but at least it's a start at reflection and thought. Maybe in his final days leading up to January 20th, or after he goes home, he will reflect on some mistakes his administration made that didn't work out so well for other people.

In addition to admitting we make mistakes we should learn from our mistakes. I never saw that characteristic in George Bush, he seemed to think that as he said, "principles are forever...principles that are etched in his soul...a core set of beliefs" - meant ignoring facts. In the interview he says he makes decisions based on core principles - he doesn't mention facts.

Watching and listening to George Bush convinced me that he didn't have the intellect, or the ability to communicate, that would allow him to be much more than a puppet - not unlike Ronald Reagan in his time as president, both cheerleaders who were personable- but not very bright. It would be okay if they, and the people who were advising them, were working and cheering for the middle class team but unfortunately that wasn't the case.

Hopefully what we have learned in the last 8 years will prevent us from ever electing another president like the one we have now.