Damned if You do and Damned if You Don’t

When I read Bob’s blog on Torched I have to say I have a totally different perspective.  My point of view is best expressed in this article written by Joe Scarbourgh, a conservative who at one time served in the United States House of Representatives. I agree with Joe on ALL of the points he made and I too am one of the growing number of Americans who believe that the participants in our government cannot continue going this way.

I’m not going to speak for others who voted for Obama in the last election, but when I voted for him I was looking for someone who was intelligent (graduated from Columbia University and a Harvard Law school grad), someone who could take an issue and make a logical decision then articulate to me his thought process and why he made the decision he made and yes, someone who was a multi-tasker, someone willing to take chances while in the process taking the country in a different direction.

A while back when I read Bob’s September 10 blog about the presidents speech I was surprised because I thought the president knocked the ball out of the park with his speech. I sent Bob’s wife Kish a text the day after the speech and told her I thought the president did a GREAT job and she wholeheartedly agreed. How could we all be listening to the same speech and come to such different conclusions ? 

I think Joe put it best in his article when he said just because we have differing points of view that doesn’t mean that one of us is right and one of us is wrong, but that we just view the world differently. I think it’s safe to say that my brother Bob and I DEFINITELY view the world differently.


The International Olympic Committee has selected Rio de Janiero as the site of the 2016 Summer Games.  I feel sorry for the people in Chicago, which was knocked out in the first round of the selection process, and I don’t understand or share the reaction of some Americans who celebrated the decision as a kind of comeuppance for President Obama.

Still, I think the President’s decision to jet over to Europe to make a pitch for the Games was an ill-advised decision on many levels.  How can the President justify taking time away from a full plate of foreign and domestic problems to make a bid for what is, at bottom, a sporting event?  Comparisons of the amount of time he has spent with his commanding general in Afghanistan and the amount of time he spent flying over to selection committee meeting are cheap and easy, but have real resonance with Americans who are still trying to figure out what President Obama is like as a person and as a leader.  What do such comparisons say about his priorities?  Moreover, I object to the majesty of the American presidency being engaged in hucksterism, where the President is brought in at the last minute to try to “close the deal” on things like the  Olympics or large corporate contracts.  Finally, as a political matter, the President’s decision to become personally involved seems foolish.  He gives his domestic political opponents ammunition, reduces himself by going over to Europe to plead with a bunch of low-level functionaries in a corrupt international sports bureaucracy, and then gets humiliated when, despite his impassioned plea and celebrityhood, the functionaries boot Chicago out in the first round.

I hope President Obama has learned a valuable lesson.  The weight of the office of the American President should not be dissipated on trivialities.  Our President’s decision to become involved in a particular matter should have impact, in part, because it is rare and reserved for very special occasions.  If the President is seen on late-night TV regularly, or is happy to fly to some faraway destination to shill for a city hoping to land the Olympics, what kind of impact will it have if the President tries to mediate some domestic political dispute or foreign policy crisis?