Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Debate Debate

Going against every conservative columnist I read, I think McCain's decision to postpone the debate was a bad one. If Congress really needs John McCain to be there debating this bill full time then he should have dropped the Clinton Global Initiative speech as well. I rather doubt that he couldn't fly out for the debate and fly back without missing a crucial point in the debate.

Unsurprisingly, though, I find Barack's response even worse. The gist of his response is "I have told the leadership of Congress that if I can be helpful then I am prepared to be anywhere, anytime" (I should note, in fairness, I can't find an original, unedited version of his statement anywhere so this may be edited). Translated from WashingtonSpeak this sounds to me a lot like "If the leaders of the Democratic Party need me to do something, I'm prepared to show up and sign something or make a statement." Even leaving that aside, though, this is not the statement of a leader. I've seen comments while looking for an original version of the speech that assert Obama really knows how to lead because leadership is about delegating. I agree that a leader needs to delegate, but that's not what he's doing.

I've spent a lot of time in the Boy Scouts as an Assistant to something and a bit of time as the guy in charge of something. I try very hard to sound exactly like Obama (without the "um"s) whenever I'm an assistant. It's the mark of someone who knows how to serve their leader that they're willing to step in and help whenever needed. As a leader, though, you don't have the option of "let me know if I can be helpful." A leader isn't helpful, they're responsible. In the recent gas shortage in Atlanta, Governor Sonny Perdue didn't tell the legislature "let me know if I can be helpful"; he went to the EPA to push them to suspend formulation requirements. I'm not familiar with Alaska state politics but I would imagine that Sarah Palin has faced issues as an executive and has responded similarly. Barack has previously voted "present", but now he's saying "I'll be present if the party needs me to."

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