Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Voting for a CEO, Versus a Drinking Buddy

I remember when George W Bush was elected and the "political analysis" was that he was the candidate most people would like to have a beer with.

He wasn't my type of drinking buddy, but I don't mind having a beer with someone now and then. We might sit and shoot the bull about things, politics, the crazy things going on in the world. He'll have his opinions, I'll have mine, we might laugh and we might argue. That's fine, it's a good time, people have been drinking beer and solving the world's problems since ancient Egypt.

But that doesn't mean I think my new best friend at the bar should run the country, you know what I'm saying?

When Trump first came out with that crazy stuff about "they're not sending their best people," early in his campaign, he was like a guy at the bar. He was charming in his own way, he has a kind of personal rhythm that is grammatically awkward but likeable in a kitchen-table sort of way. He interrupts a sentence to throw in an unrelated thought, and then gets off-topic, and that is kind of what we do when we have a personal conversation. I tell you what happened to me, you tell me what happened to you, we joke about it and move on to another story.

But that doesn't mean that you and I are qualified to run a country.

The federal government, last I heard, has a million employees. That's a big company. It's got a lot of departments with a lot of complex problems in every department, changing every day. The country has a vision and a mission, and every big decision must be weighed against those, and sometimes hundreds of advisors are consulted before an important policy is implemented. The government has customers from all regions, all income categories, all traditions, and you can't make them all happy but with good leadership you can manage your compromises so everyone gets what they need.

It has nothing to do with having a beer. It has nothing to do with kitchen-table talk.

Journalists love to talk about "Dems in disarray" and "Biden in trouble," by which they always mean his popularity ratings are low, not that he has done a bad job. They yearn for a colorful, kitchen-table kind of leader who will say outrageous things, the awkward uncle who is so rude that you can't ignore him, and you just have to tell your friends later about the obnoxious comments he made at dinner. They don't sell papers when the government is run in an efficient and fair way, which is actually what the Chief Executive job is all about.

I just happened to see a sort of random comment on Twitter and I thought I'd share it.

He is doing a great job as President. No scandals, no crimes. He isn't stirring stuff up, he isn't going onto social media and TV and saying outrageous things. He wears a dark-blue suit and goes to church a lot, has surrounded himself with well-informed but not inflammatory advisors. He respects everyone, including his political opponents, and tries to work out bills that address our actual problems -- not to get even with somebody who said something critical of him, but to pass legislation that solves real social issues. It makes sense to elect this kind of leader.