Monday, November 3, 2014
The U.S.S Obama
Sail on, O Union, strong and great!
Humanity with all its fears,
With all its hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless in thy fate.
Longfellow (1807-1882), Evangeline
Pollsters predict Ship Obama will break upon the rocks of reality tomorrow.
This crash will occur because Americans are dissatisfied with the State of the Union and the Direction of the Country by 36 points (63% to 27%).
This wreckage upon the shore may be temporary because the Captain has the option of taking down the Ship’s sails and throwing its powerful engines in reverse.
What are the passengers aboard ship thinking? Are they afraid the Good Ship U.S.S. Obama is about to crash upon the rocks? Or do they think it can right itself?
The ship’s crew is mutinous. Half of them have vowed to throw the captain overboard, and they say so loudly, vociferously, and continually. The Captain responds by insulting them, accusing them of trying to change the ship’s course. But the mutinous crew says they are interested only in results, not insults.
Out of Control Foreign Affairs
Everybody on ship has a cell phone, smart phone, or other mobile device. They connect with what’s going on in the outside world. They are deeply concerned that events in Kiev, Kobani, Damascus, Baghdad, Gaza and Benghazi. They fear events outside the ship are out of control and may sink the ship. The fear the Captain has made bad decisions – not crossing the Syrian red line he drew himself, withdrawing prematurely from Iraq, not stopping ISIS when the stopping was possible.
People on the Decks and in the Holds
Those with cabins on the upper deck support the Captain. But the majority of people in the middle deck have sinking economic prospects and feel they are merely ballast, and those in the lower decks – minorities, the poor, the young, single women, and others who feel disenfranchised, though supportive of the Captain, are suffering from present and future disenchantment. People in the hold are still on hold, hoping and waiting for promises to be fulfilled.
Asleep at the Helm and Tiller
Many passengers worry about the Captain always being asleep-at-the-helm-and-tiller, always the last-to-know –about-budding- scandals, always surprised and angered at what-he-should- have-known-before-the-media-told-him-so about VA waiting lists, IRS scandals, and the like. These Johnny-come-lately moments bring up the problem of managerial competence.
ObamaCare, Stumbling Websites, Winners, and Losers
Speaking of competence, there’s widespread concern over the abysmal launch of healthcare.gov, other shortfalls of ObamaCare in general, and the Ebola epidemic in particular. Yes, the health law has had its winners - the uninsured, the poor, and those below four times the poverty line – but it has a host of losers too – the middle class, those paying higher premiums and unaffordable, those fearful of losing their doctors and their health plans, health plans, fearful of losing their shirts, small businesses, fearful they cannot afford to cover their employees. Redistributing health benefits and the wealth associated with those benefits and achieving social justice has adverse consequences, some of them harm economic growth and hurt those it was intended to help –Blacks, Hispanics, other minorities, millenials, and single women all of whom are having difficulties finding economic safety boats.
The Grand Perhaps
Still aboard ship, there is still hope reality can be avoided. Perhaps the crew will not mutiny. Perhaps common sense compromises can be reached among political winners and losers. Perhaps the Captain and crew will be able to sit at the same table. Perhaps together they can swell the sails and ignite the engines of economic growth. Perhaps new men at the helm and a transformed Captain, shocked into reality, will signal full-speed ahead again. Perhaps the Ship of State, which recent storms have threatened to destroy, will sail safely on more open and less perilous seas.