dispatches from the new world of work
Caught In the Act!
I have worked relentlessly to keep this Blog apolitical. For at least two reasons: (1) We are about enterprise management. (With a few VT farm pictures thrown in from time to time.) (2) When a Blog "turns political," then intemperate remarks become the norm—I have spent the better part of the last two months beating up people of every stripe over intemperate language used concerning our presidential candidates.
I think I've had some success in staying apolitical. Nonetheless, the New York Times blew my cover with a lengthy 28 October article in the Technology section that pitted me vs. my great friend Carly Fiorina concerning the election. She is a senior McCain campaign advisor. I was nabbed by YouTube giving the keynote at an Obama rally in Southern Vermont.
I am an Obama supporter, and, having been caught in the act relative to this Blog, I will tell you very succinctly why:
- I think the time has come to pass the torch to the next generation, and I believe Mr Obama would be an excellent symbol of a new generation of leader. (I think Mr McCain has the haggard look of yesterday, and is, like myself, advertised to be a cranky old man. Age matters—take it from me, and feel free to wish me "happy 66th" on 7 November.)
- In the spirit of the above, I think Mr Obama would represent a new page overseas for America. Our image is ragged, and I think Mr Obama could and would go a long way toward "bringing America back" to the status of "beacon for the world." (I fear Mr McCain might, on this dimension, project as a continuation of the Bush years.)
- Concerning foreign affairs, I believe Mr Obama has the disposition and intellect to deal, as best anyone can, with the difficult security challenges we confront; among other things our major problems are likely to be with us for decades—and cannot primarily be dealt with by aircraft carrier superiority, a tough thing for a true blue Navy man to admit. I believe Mr Obama meets the Churchillian standard of "jaw jaw beats war war." I am fearful of Mr McCain's bellicosity and perhaps some volatility. (Unlike the case of Mr Clinton, I also have no doubt that Mr Obama would quickly gain the respect of the U.S. military—as a hot-war veteran, I have no concerns at all on that dimension.)
- Colin Powell was persuasive.
- As to experience, I am not troubled by Mr Obama's resume. Surviving Chicago politics, among other things, is no cakewalk—and, also, Mr Obama would be older than either Mr Kennedy or Mr Clinton was upon taking the oath of office. His remarkable cool and measured approach throughout this torrid and lengthy and, at times, bitter campaign suggest to me that he in his own fashion meets the "maturity" test as well or better than any President of any age that I have experienced, with perhaps the exception of Mr Reagan.
- I sadly believe that Ms Palin is not ready to be Commander-in-Chief on many dimensions. Alas, I have little respect for her, and my McCain diehard friends feel as strongly as I do—almost without fail. I think the selection of Ms Palin does not reflect well on Mr McCain or his "country first" rhetoric. She is a "strong negative" in my assessment of the McCain candidacy. (Understatement.)
- The economy is as abiding an issue as national security, and I believe Mr Obama would be able to do as well as anyone could in dealing with it. I am very impressed with his principal advisors, including Mssrs Volker, Rubin, Summers, and Buffett—none could be called an ideologue in any way, shape, or form.
- Though I am an avowed supporter of undiluted capitalism (my faith, like Mr Greenspan's, is being sorely tested), I believe that the growing inequity in America is a clear and present danger of the first order. As Mr Buffett said, and I paraphrase, "There's a problem when my secretary has a higher marginal tax rate than I do." It is time for a focus on the middle class and those not quite there, and I believe Mr Obama has an abiding edge in that regard. (I buy his tax policy, though it will not help my net worth—as stated, and simply put, those with incomes less than $250,000 will see their taxes reduced; this encompasses, also, the vast majority of small business and I am a rabid small business advocate.) As to the "redistributionist" talk, if we wanted to erase re-distribution, we'd have to begin by wiping out Medicaid and Medicare and the progressive income tax of 90 years standing and cut the education budget, among others, to approximately zero. In short, I trust Mr Obama with the economy more than Mr McCain. As to the "threat" of a significant Democratic majority across the board, there may be problems, but I have a hard time imagining Congress pushing Mr Obama around. (NB: Though I probably would have come down on the Obama side in any event, I would have given McCain far more consideration, especially concerning economic affairs, and, of course, succession, if Mr Romney had been his running mate.)
- I neither want a conservative Supreme Court nor a liberal Court. The swing to the conservative end of the scale would likely exceed my comfort level if Mr McCain had two or three vacancies to fill.
In 1960, I was 18—but the voting age was 21. Mr Eisenhower was an effective President, a great occupant of the office for 1952-1960. But Mr Kennedy represented a sprightly America embracing its next chapter with matchless vigor and optimism. In a way, in 2008 I have the chance to finally cast my "Kennedy vote"—and I have decided to do so by checking the Obama box on my ballot. (Actually, I already have.)
It is not my goal here to convince a single soul concerning next Tuesday's election. It has been my goal here to be "transparent" at tompeters.com concerning a topic that has captivated all of our attention. (This Blog is one of my true loves—and I will go to great lengths to protect what it stands for.)
Thank you for your attention if you have read this far.
(I am prepared for a deluge of huffy Comments, which is fair enough. I would prefer no positive Comments—I am not trying to persuade or seeking mates, as I said; I am simply stating my view to our community.)
Tom Peters posted this on 11/01/08.