Snarky Behavior

“Not I,” said the leadership

September 30, 2008 · 2 Comments

There are two basic children’s stories of ideological propaganda that defined the Cold War:

The first is the Communist tale of “The Ant and the Grasshopper.” While perhaps not a great fit with Communist values, the moral of the story is “it is best to prepare for times of necessity,” and the preparations are made by a colony doing equal work to ensure equal provisions.

The second is the Capitalist tale of “The Little Red Hen.” This story highlights the behaviorial economics of the free-rider problem; that is, nobody is willing to exert personal effort that exceeds their derived benefit from that effort, even if collectively, everybody is better off.

Well, right now we have a crisis that requires collective effort to address.  The market fell off 700 points yesterday, and that’s not even a sound indicator of how bad things are due to the SEC ban on short-selling.  The lending markets are absolutely frozen, because we have ZERO political leadership willing to do what’s necessary.

Who will lead this bail-out?

–”Not I,” said the President, who refused to use the bully-pulpit to twist the arms of the House Republicans.  “I’m already unpopular as it is.  I don’t want to do any more damage to the party.”

–”Not I,” said John McCain, who refused to rally his party around a bipartisan effort.  “I don’t really understand the issue, and I’ve staked too much politically on being perceived as decisivie on the politically popular side of this issue, whatever it may end up being.”

–”Not I,” said Barack Obama, who was gaining popularity as the economy tanked.  “I don’t want to introduce presidential politics into delicate negotiations.  This needs to be bi-partisan so we share the political fall-out.  Otherwise I’m staying arms-length away.”

–”Not I,” said the House Republicans, who were getting angry calls about bailing out Wall Street.  “My constituents vote on emotion — we’ve cultivated them that way.  And right now, they’re angry.  I’m not sticking my neck out any further with this administration… I don’t care what the long-term consequences may be.  Let’s wait until after the election.”

–”Not I,” said Nancy Peloisi.  “The Republicans double-crossed us.  After all the concessions we made on a bill we didn’t want, they promised the votes, and didn’t deliver.  I’m not letting our party take ownership on this… it’s way too unpopular.”

So who’s going to be the Little Red Hen here?  Who’s going to say, “Then I’ll do it”?

Isn’t that what leadership is supposed to be?  Or is our politically system that handicapped?

Categories: Opinion
Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

2 responses so far ↓

Leave a Comment