04 Jan 2008 predictions: Is this any way to pick a president?
Editor’s note: This is the first of two articles on “Predictions for 2008.” Part I focuses on politics and the many questions going unanswered.
Have you watched some of the year-end business and news shows where they ask all the commentators what their predictions are for 2008 and how they think presidential candidates will fare in Iowa?
Iowa does not reflect any of the urban issues that resonate in places like Chicago, New York, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, and Dallas. It does not have as good a cross-section of society as these other cities. To place so much emphasis on one state’s outcome is ludicrous. But just like constantly hyping the antics of Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan as typical, the mainstream media will want you to think that this was the ultimate definitive action and the selection process is all over.
Sorry, but I have been unimpressed with how all these people, supposedly “in the know,” do not ask tough questions or raise issues about the American economy.
People want real answers today and not typical campaign rhetoric. Those that buy into the old rhetoric are the same ones that don’t have a clue about where the country and the economy are headed.
Instead of focusing on candidates’ religious preferences, haircuts, and banging away at the same Roe vs. Wade issues, journalists should be asking about tough issues and getting answers for:
• Illegal immigration and real solutions (deportation of criminals and other undesirables as well as protecting the borders).
• The nation’s lagging behind on network infrastructure to the point of crippling the future competitiveness of the American market. (Lobbyists are killing the global competitiveness of this country in the name of protecting obsolete business models and stifling competition within the network infrastructure area. This should be a major campaign issue.)
• Establishing realistic goals for American citizens to get good educations that translate into good jobs instead of importing cheap labor in visa programs like H-1B not for menial work, but for sophisticated positions that require technology or financial skills.
• An overhaul for education that is not just throwing more money at it, but weeding out all the deadwood and aimless leadership that is not addressing a competitive global approach to education. And how did some states create funding for illegal immigrants to get college grants and payments? (This is an article in itself).
• Cutting the waste in government expenditures on education, entitlement programs, and anything else that keeps demanding more funding, yet seems to always fall short of accountability.
Until candidates have a solid answer and solution for these issues, they are just pandering to whatever audience they get in front of to speak. Just like a 1950s manufacturing strategy cannot work in today’s market, a 1960s, 1970s, or even 1990s political campaign strategy cannot work either. Unfortunately, many voters are stuck in the past unless they have faced a crisis in their family where jobs were lost, and underemployment was the only way out. Watch out for those voters because they will be leaving their traditional party affiliations.
Too bad there is not a viable third-party candidate. Ross Perot created a lot of worry in the two parties and actually got both candidates to address issues that never would have been discussed. We really need that today because I think more people have become independent and do not believe either party represents their views.
Issues that need to be addressed in detail are:
• Illegal immigration. (A real solution is needed because this issue impacts many government, education and healthcare agencies that must provide services that are not “free.”)
• Eliminating the extension of H-1B visas, which in turn damages the American middle-class economy. This is not 1999 anymore and companies have systematically cut out a lot of higher-priced American labor in favor of cheaper labor to a point of where these former employees cannot afford some of the products these companies are making.
• Waste in all government agencies and initiatives.
• A real plan to be globally competitive in the 21st Century.
Even though the mainstream media might want you to think the War in Iraq is the primary issue people are concerned with, the primary issue around here is the economy and more importantly personal survivability in a questionable job market.
Where do the candidates stand?
Instead of focusing on real issues, there is too much spotlight on political fluff, religious background, and personal lives because strategists as well as the media think that this is what people want to hear in order to make up their minds on candidates. Most have not tackled the real issues that people are concerned about.
It’s the same old strategy that many have played in the past and the results have always been the same. People get alienated on candidates because of trivial issues that get blown out of proportion instead of real critical issues that should be addressed.
Do candidates dance around the real issues because they do not really know what is going on in the rest of the country, or is it because they really don’t want to say something that may offend a potential voting group? Maybe it’s a little of both, but I do not see a clear-cut winner after listening to both Republican and Democratic campaign debates as well as individual speeches. Many people are tired of politically correct candidates and want someone politically accurate for a change.
Some may say Obama is that type of candidate, but I do not see him taking on any hard interviews. If you really have ideas and a plan, you can defend it to the harshest critic and even put that person in their place. Why doesn’t he go on to the tough interviews and not just dance with Ellen Degeneres? I question how strong his convictions really are.
You may disagree with Hillary, but I think she would defend her convictions. No one seems to have captured the Democratic base’s endorsement, as they are in a three-way tie.
As for Mitt, McCain, and others, they are all going to make sweeping changes once they are elected. They fail to address the issue of having to get Congress to go along with reform. As Harold Geneen, Chairman of ITT, once said:
Words are words,
Explanations are explanations, and
Promises are promises.
But only performance is reality.
One person with new ideas and new issues to address also has to work with Congress in order to promote all this positive change. That is not an easy task today, and I do not believe any candidate in either party’s race exemplifies that talent and skill set.
My prediction of who will win? When it comes to the importance of Iowa, those that win will claim it’s a huge victory and the ultimate test of being the party’s choice, yet those that do not place first will spin it quickly by saying it’s yesterday’s news, a small state and the race is ahead in the larger states.
I tend to agree with the latter.
Next article: Predictions for 2008 economy. Most people are concerned with their financial status, healthcare costs, and are mostly two or three paychecks away from catastrophe if they lose their job. Those that think they are immune to the economy because they work in government or education should think again. Benefits that are no longer 100 percent funded in the private sector will become the same for government workers as the tax base shrinks. 80/20 programs and healthcare co-pays are starting to creep into many municipal programs.
The mortgage and financial markets are still recovering from the losses of the sub-prime market. It is not over and many of the experts are all over the place when it comes to assessing the damages. Watch for next week’s observations and predictions.
CARLINI-ISM: Predictions that are too early are usually wrong.
Recent articles by James Carlini
• James Carlini: Network infrastructure and holiday cocktail parties
• James Carlini: Broadband and other blowback from frustrated voters
• James Carlini: Presidential candidates clueless on broadband
• James Carlini: Two-week notices are no longer “customary”
• James Carlini: Singing the wireless blues: Why Wi-Fi is out and WiMAX is in
This article previously appeared in MidwestBusiness.com, and was reprinted with its permission.
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