Professor Smartass

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Do Businessmen Make Good Presidents? Public Radio sidesteps Bush/Cheney answer





When I heard the host of Public Radio International's The World ask whether businessmen make good presidents and continue with,

But does business experience give a head of state a leg up? And why does a nation turn to a CEO for leadership?
CONTEXT 
I assumed they were going to go for the obvious recent example in American history: George W. Bush and his Halliburton CEO VP, Dick Cheney.

Instead, the story went on to talk about Vicente Fox, a president of Thailand, Silvio Berlusconi of Italy, and even non-president, Donald Trump.

As odd as the absence of Bush and Cheney was the absence of a very obvious question: do businessmen in office use their skills for the public good, or do they simply use the office to help their business and cronies who will reciprocate later? I'm sure their are lots of the first kind, but far more often, businessmen see public office as a way to pursue business by other means, just as their campaign donations are far from altruistic, and a pretty strong relationship exists between an industry's donations and getting a favorable outcome on legislation that effects them.

Another odd twist on this story was how they described Romney's business experience, as doing ''business turnaround as a management consultant.''

Isn't that a bit like calling a cannibal as doing health turnaround as a weight loss consultant?

NPR and Public Radio International do the public a disservice when they practice historical revision like this, and making conservative epic catastrophe that which shall not be mentioned.


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Saturday, February 04, 2012

Gingrich doubles down on France Bashing, says he can't find France on a globe

Newt Gingrich knows his campaign is in desperate straits after his loss in Florida,  but polling data shows Republican voters were favorably impressed by ad slamming Mitt Romney for speaking French.

In states with upcoming primaries, Gingrich will run an ad taking the anti-French theme even further, appearing himself with a globe in his hands and saying, "Unlike Mitt Romney, I not only don't SPEAK French, I can't find it on a globe."

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum's campaign got an early copy of the ad and plans to go even further than Gingrich and say their candidate is uncertain of the very existence of France.

"If people want to believe in some theory of France because they read it in a book or heard it from some atheist humanist gay college professor, I can't stop them--but I can tell them they're wrong."

Santorum says that France was made up by elitists in New York City as a utopia of wine drinking, mass transportation, and the metric system, to bolster their own failed socialists ideas.

"If they can't back up their ideas with real places like Selma, Schenectady , or San Antonio, they should have the dignity to admit their ideas don't work rather than appeal to some fantasyland "France."

Santorum said that if France did exist, that like other non-English speaking countries, it would pose a grave existential threat to the United States since they may be using their foreign language to plan terrorist or conventional military attacks on the US.

"This is why we need a military larger than the rest of the world combined," Santorum added.  "We have no way of knowing what they are saying in their godless, subhuman 'languages.'"

When asked about the success of the Gingrich ad and further efforts in that direction by Gingrich and Santorum, former Massachusettes governor Mitt Romney said that just because he publicly spoke French once does not mean he supports or denies the existence of France.

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