Tuesday, October 06, 2009

What Matters; What Doesn't
(Presidential Division)

What Matters
The Economy. The official unemployment rate is nearing 10%. The Real Unemployment Rate is a staggering 17%. And the depression has continued long enough that families are using up their unemployment benefits with no relief in sight. This issue rates 100 on a scale of one to ten. It's The Economy, Stupid!

Afghanistan. The same people that ended Alexander The Great's quest for world domination, the people that chased the great British Empire back through the Hindu Kush, the ragtag rebels who destroyed the Soviet Union are now the problem of the United States. We have the power to destroy their country. We can kill every man, woman, and child in Afghanistan without breaking a sweat. We can never rule them and we might as well give up trying.

Health Care. One of the first lessons I learn is that real power politics is the art of the possible. There are very few issues that are so important one should waste political capital on a losing effort. If you can't win, let things slide and live to fight another day. The second lesson is to know what you want before committing to a fight. While health care costs and availability are a vital American concern, the insurance companies own a sufficient number of Congressmen and Senators to make real reform impossible. President Obama, while strongly supporting reform, does not seem to have a clear idea what that reform should look like. I'd like real reform but I don't see it happening and insofar as the health care debate is distracting from the economy it is a net loss.

What Doesn't Matter
The Olympics. No one, except venue builders and Chicago construction workers, cares where the Olympics are held. If Republicans try to make an issue out of the Olympics going to Rio it will be the GOP that looks petty and disconnected.

Iran Nukes. Sorry neo-cons, Iran is a regional issue. The Saudis and Israelis are scared but they are no threat to the United States. A little saber rattling for domestic consumption is all that is needed.

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