Actions Speak Louder Than Words
By John D. Turner
25 Sep 2008

“I believe if the credit markets are not functioning, that jobs will be lost, that our credit rate will rise, more houses will be foreclosed upon, GDP will contract, that the economy will just not be able to recover in a normal, healthy way.” – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke

Well that certainly sounds bad. Apparently last week we came within a hairsbreadth of a complete lock up of our entire financial system, a catastrophe that didn’t happen, but which still could, should Congress fail to act appropriately to head it off.

But if it didn’t happen, how do we know that it really would have? I mean, people are telling us that it almost did; Fed Chairman Bob Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and others that should know. But, other than some wild gyrations in the stock market, did you notice anything happening? I didn’t. Life went on as usual.

And now they want to give $700 billion of my hard-earned tax money to bail out some fat cat businessmen on Wall Street? Well boohoo for them!

Did you notice that all this went down right after Obama surged ahead in the polls? I bet this is just some Republican ploy to win the election. After all, Bernanke, Paulson, and all the others are Republican appointees, put in place by George Bush. The Republicans are just trying to steal the election and pay off their fat cat cronies with my tax dollars to boot!

Which just goes to show, you can spin anything to your political advantage; even the financial ruin of a nation. So what are our political candidates for President doing about the situation? One of them is going to inherit the mess after all. You would think that they would be interested in what happens in the next few days as it could end up influencing the direction of their entire administration for the next four years.

Senator McCain suspends his campaign, and goes back to Washington to see what he can do about helping fix the problem. He asks that the Presidential Debate, scheduled for Friday, be postponed until sometime next week while Congress deals with a crisis that everyone seems to think vital to the future of our nation.

Senator Obama on the other hand delivered a nice speech on the gravity of the current economic crisis, which he blamed on Republicans. Portraying Senator McCain’s attempt to postpone the debate as political grandstanding, he seems to think that the upcoming Presidential Debate on foreign policy is the most important issue facing the nation at present.

Senator McCain, it seems, remembers that his current job is as a Senator. And that this current crisis requires a legislative solution – and a quick solution at that. And that getting a quick and effective solution to a problem which, if not solved, could lead to a major depression requires leadership – something that Senator McCain has had plenty of experience with in the Senate.

Senator Obama on the other hand, apparently sees himself as just another Senator when it comes to this crisis, not a leader. His attitude? Call me if you need me to vote on something. Meanwhile, he sees it as more important to talk about leadership, and what he will do if the public promotes him than to actually attempt to exercise leadership and do the job he is currently getting paid to perform.

Perhaps that’s because when it comes down to brass tacks, a junior Senator with only four years experience (most of which has been spent on the campaign trail) really is just another Senator when it comes to the heavy lifting.

Evidently Obama thinks that were he President, he could just wave some sort of magic wand and the problem would be solved. Unfortunately, in America, we don’t elect popular dictators; we are a Republic, with different branches of government each having different functions and responsibilities. The President, the Fed Chairman, and the Treasury Secretary, among others, have proposed a solution. But that’s all they can do – propose. It requires the Congress to act on that proposal, or come up with a different solution. But it is Congress that must act.

You remember Congress; the House and the Senate? The part of the government that is required to enact legislation? The folks responsible for the governmental purse strings? The political body that both Senator McCain and Senator Obama are a part of?

According to Obama, what the American people really want is to hear their candidates for President talk about exactly how they would go about solving the problem were they President in a debate on Friday night.

What I want to see is a solution to the problem by the people charged with fixing it. That would be, among others, Senators McCain and Obama. And I want it to occur before the impending crisis metastasizes into a de facto crisis that will take years to fix. Obama can opine all he likes on what he would do were he President, and to whom he would assign blame, however the fact of the matter is that we have something that needs fixing right now, and right now it is part of his job to be fixing it, not campaigning for a promotion.

I don’t see what is so all-fired important about a Presidential Debate that most people won’t be watching anyhow, compared to impending financial disaster facing the entire nation. Can’t the debate be postponed for a few days? Even if it were canceled all together, would that somehow precipitate a national crisis?

What is better for people to make a decision on; watching two people debate with each other on how they would solve theoretical crisis in the future, or watching how they go about solving a real crisis in the present? Could it be that Obama knows that when it comes to solving a real crisis he is going to come out on the short end of the stick compared to McCain?

Obama tries to paint this as a picture of a young vibrant president capable of multitasking – one who can chew gum and walk at the same time, vs a worn-out old man who is only capable of concentrating on one thing at a time.

I on the other hand see it as a comparison between someone who is able to understand and react to a crisis situation affecting the nation and one who is so out of touch that they not only do not recognize the threat, but are incapable of changing their busy schedule to accommodate it. I see it as an inability to prioritize, and a failure of leadership on Obama’s part; a man who is too busy talking about how to lead to actually roll up his sleeves and lead. A man who is too busy promoting himself for a new job to actually do what he is supposed to be doing in his existing job when his nation is facing a crisis. Does he even know what his job is supposed to be? He hasn’t a whole lot of experience with actually doing it thus far.

Isn’t it better to head off the train wreck, or at least mitigate its effects than it is to paw through the wreckage and point fingers as to who is to blame?

Senator McCain is doing what leaders do – lead. You can always tell who the leader is; they are the one in front. They get the credit when things go right, and take the spears when things go bad. They may not always be right, but they are trying to solve the problem.

Senator Obama is hoping someone else will solve the problem for him – but he will show up to vote if someone calls. And no doubt, be ready to assign blame should things go awry. You’ve seen this type before; they take credit for everything everyone else does but when things go wrong, they don’t know you from Adam. And they don’t do much themselves either.

For Senator McCain, what he is doing now is nothing new. Much as I may disagree with some of his political stands, he has never failed to act when something threatens the nation. His actions now, although construed as “grandstanding” and “politically motivated” by his opposition, are consistent with his past behavior.

For Senator Obama, his actions now are nothing new either. He is much better at talk than action, and when it comes to the vote, he is often “present” when called. And far be it from me to suggest that the young political messiah would do anything political in a political campaign. Surely, his insistence on fiddling while Rome burns is solely due to his sincere belief that listening to his beautiful music is more beneficial to the nation than putting out the fire that threatens to consume it.

I can think of nothing I would like better while standing in the bread line than reflecting back on Obama’s soaring oratory during the presidential debate as he administered a whooping to McCain’s backside. It will give me something to be proud of as I am picking through the garbage pile to feed my family while I am out of a job and the country is mired in a 1929 style depression.