Posts Tagged ‘Pundits’

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STRATEGY OVER BLATHER

July 11, 2009

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When the current battle over healthcare is over, there will be choices – which will include a robust Public Option.

How do I know?

The same way our President knows.

Numbers.

This is why you don’t see him out there everyday going head-to-head with media, pundits, and his political opposition. As I’ve written before in Checkers and Chess, No Beef and Faith Trumps Fear, they keep underestimating his ability to size up the debate, learn all he can about the issue and develop the winning strategy that serves the needs of the country, not the politicans’.  

There are enough congressional members who support the President’s healthcare reform plan to get it passed. These are the same people that already passed the Cap and Trade Bill and the Stimulus Bill. The members who opposed those bills are almost exactly the same people who are now opposing the current proposal for healthcare reform. They couldn’t block passage of the others, and the same will be true this time.

You’d never know this watching 24/7 cable news channels or listening to the talking heads on the radio.

They want you to believe this “battle” could go either way.

Listening to some, you’d think that the opposition has enough power to stop the legislation – they don’t. The House will pass the bill without too much resistance. There are now fifty-eight Democratic and two Independent Senators who vote with the Dems 99% of the time. Even if you discount some of the “hesitant” conservative Democrats, the numbers are still there. Contrary to what you may hear, there are Republicans who also want this bill to pass – with a Public Option.

Yet, the debate goes on.

You’d think the country was equally divided on the Public Option issue – not true. Over 70% want a Public Option. Others argue the Public Option is no different than “Single Payer,” (a totally government run healthcare system with no private plans). Again, not true. It is ONE of the choices, not the ONLY choice. There are and will continue to be many choices, including private healthcare company plans. Those who try to equate the two are concerned that the Public Option may eventually become “Single Payer.” This is a possibility, and maybe a probability, but it would be the will of the people, not Washington, that makes it happen.

By now, we’ve all heard the false argument that people in other countries with government run healthcare systems do not receive quality care, and are coming here for care. Again, not true. In fact, the opposite is true. American healthcare companies are pricing themselves out of the market and businesses are exploring overseas options  for healthcare for their employees – senior management included. For example, a comparison of our healthcare system vs. Canada’s  reveals that the quality is at least as good, and in some cases, better. As is true with any healthcare system, both have challenges. I understand commentators need to fill time, but all that blather makes me want to take a nap.

Media and pundits are playing right into Obama’s strategy by presenting all the arguments for and against his plan. Perfect. Let them fight the battles, and when they’re done, the President will address the country in the final stages of the debate, and convince more than enough legislators to vote his way.

They fight the battles – he wins the war.

Strategy over blather.

What a novel concept.

Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com

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THE NICE GUY WINS

April 29, 2009

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More often than not, when pundits and op-ed writers gather to discuss political and policy issues, things get heated, people talk over each other and no one can make their point without interruption. Then along comes this calm, distinguishable voice that has been waiting patiently to speak. It emerges with cool intellect, witty humor and the reasonableness that has long since escaped the conversation.

Gene Robinson is a writer that makes reading enjoyable and informative.

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No bluster, no ranting, just common sense thinking. Yes, he leans progressive. But based on the 2008 election results, he’s in good company. He is not vitriolic towards those with opposing views – a refreshing quality in this age of television, radio and print blather.

Often times he has good things to say about the “opposition” and offers very good ideas for keeping the conversation rational among all that are gathered – a rare talent indeed. Gene’s “centeredness” is not unlike that of our President’s.

Thoughtful words – both written and spoken – expose his true understanding which is cleverly expressed.

And then there’s that whole Pulitzer Prize thing.

Gene Robinson was awarded a Pulitzer Prize on April 20, 2009 for his coverage of the 2008 Presidential Election. This is stellar accomplishment considering how many people were reporting during this amazing time in our nation’s history. His commentary was insightful and at times, prophetic.

The very next day, he published “When Slapped, Slap Back” – good commentary on how he thought that President Obama may have been a little too nice with some of our not-so-friendly leaders at the Summit of the Americas. I use this illustration to show that Gene will constructively criticize when he feels that it adds to the conversation.

Please take the time to read some of his work. Regardless of where you stand on the issues – you will not be disappointed.

Thank you, Gene, for being one of the very few voices of reason in this 24/7 say-and-do-anything-to-get-attention age of media. You have certainly earned the recognition.

Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com

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BULLIES AND NERDS

March 25, 2009

bulliesnerdsWe all remember the super intelligent, highly introverted, shy kids in school – the ones that many called “nerds.” They were picked on by bullies, teased by jocks, and usually dateless for social functions  – if they showed up at all.

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You could always find them hanging out together in one corner of the gymnasium, auditorium or hallway. They could complete academic tasks at the speed of light but were very uncomfortable with casual conversation.

Occasionally, you would learn that a few of these kids were not bothered by anyone. Did you ever wonder why? Was it because they were physical bad-asses that no one wanted to hassle? Did they buy their “protection” from the bullies and jocks with lots of cash? Did they have cool cars and drive everyone around all the time? The answer is “D” – none of the above.

What they had was – hello – brains! They did the bullies’ and jocks’ homework for them and in return, they were not hassled. The real smart ones didn’t tell anyone – not even their friends. They walked the halls and the parking lots with no fear. They didn’t have to worry about their books being knocked out of their arms (we didn’t have book bags back then), being pushed around at lunchtime, or even ditched in line. They weren’t accepted into the “in crowd.” Instead, these kids smartly bartered their way into peaceful co-existence with it.

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The “wiz kids” usually moved on to secure very good employment and incomes. Some eventually became heads of departments, and depending on their communication skills, went on to be top executives in major firms. Some even started their own companies, like Bill Gates.

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Most of the bullies and jocks usually ended up with mediocre employment and maybe middle-management positions, at best.

Enter Tim Geithner – Nerd Extraordinaire.

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He is successful by any measure: educated, intelligent, good husband and father, good income and recognized for excellence and high achievement in the world of finance. He is a man of many accomplishments and few missteps. He is not – much like the “nerds” back in school – socially charismatic.

Enter Pundit World – the Bullies.punditworld1

Geithner has been on the job for barely two months and already Pundit World is all over him as if they were calling a football game and the quarterback threw a bad pass. “He’s not very good on his feet.” “Couldn’t the President have picked someone better to do the job?” And the ever-popular “Why aren’t we seeing more details in his plan?” – as if THEY have the ability to understand these complexities.

If you hear a pundit say “I’m no financial wizard but it seems to me that…” – take them at their word – they are not an expert. Realize they are on the air for our entertainment, not their “knowledge.” Truth-be-known: they know this, too. This is why most of them are skilled at making themselves sound more important than they really are.

Solving this country’s current financial crisis requires selecting the best for our team.

I’ll take the “nerd” standing in the corner, thank you.

Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com