Choosing Not to Choose Is Choosing Not to Lead

Like the rest of the country, I have no doubt that my guy won Tuesday’s debate with John McCain.  Like David Broder, however, I was terribly disappointed with the lack of real answers from either candidate:

John McCain and Barack Obama have been asked twice — once in the Mississippi debate and again on Tuesday night — what their priorities would be. McCain flat-out refused to choose, arguing that the United States can do it all. Obama mentioned energy, health care and education, but did not acknowledge that he might have to choose among them.

Similarly, they declined to spell out what sacrifices they might have to ask Americans to make, beyond moderating their energy use or easing their demands for Washington-financed projects.

It was a stunning rejection of reality.

I keep telling myself that Obama is currently in the hands of the “professionals” who run campaigns for a living, and that those folks are convinced we’re ahead and don’t want to do anything rash.  But this guy is going to disappoint me monumentally if he doesn’t get brutally honest with the American people in his first 100 days, and tell us that we are going to have to make some sacrifices.  Again, Broder:

To govern is to choose, and next year, the trade-offs will be much tougher than usual because of the mess the Bush administration is leaving behind. At a moment when few Americans can muster much confidence in the leaders in Congress or the White House, McCain and Obama have used two of their three debates — three hours when they had the attention of millions of voters — to conceal more than they revealed about their agendas.

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One Response to Choosing Not to Choose Is Choosing Not to Lead

  1. Eugene says:

    perhaps the failure to answer with as much detail is because we still have no idea how far down to the bottom. undoubtedly it’s also politics and there’s very little predictable upside to answering the question with greater detail. I think Obama did well in acknowledging the priorities and their order.

    I’m unclear about our capacity for fiscal stimulus. Obviously, some will be needed, but what will we be able to afford? Obama’s infrastructure plan? Economists still debating whether the $700B TARP is considered part of the deficit or more as an “investment.”

    Good gosh, are we even counting our earlier $100B in tax rebates, $50B biz tax incentives, $300B housing refinance program, $200B for GSEs and the bottomless guarantee for mmf’s? The latter reminds me of my favorite brunch mimosa plans.

    I’d be a lot less enthusiastic about Barack if we hadn’t already & early heard him discuss the need for sacrifice and sound fiscal warnings. I regret that lots of groups will be cursing him during the first 100 days, including many supporting him today, because of his “realisticness”.

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