Pundit’s Mailbag — Give Obama A Chance
Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, November 24, 2008
Our piece, Great Expectations For President Obama, brought a number of responses, including these:
YET again another excellent point of view from your part…
I, for one, am glad the election is behind us and I can put aside being a Republican and return to being an AMERICAN. After all is said and done, this is exactly what I am, an AMERICAN and very proud of it!
Although President-elect Obama did not get my vote, majority has spoken and he is now MY President.
I love this country with all my heart and I would not have it any other way.
Onwards and Upwards!
— Ana M. Ramos
The Perishable Specialist Inc.
Well-written, concise analysis of the groundswell that brought Mr. Obama to the White House.
It’s an amazing world sometimes.
— Chris Puentes
Interfresh, Inc.This series of political comments does finally send me to the edge!
Kindly remember the record of the last eight years, before you seek to establish a loyal opposition to those things you do not yet know to oppose.
Your view of the industry, experience, and access is beyond reproach.
Your other views can be withheld until we seek unity of all to a common end of change.
You had your eight years and you failed miserably — two wars, near depression-like economy, the world opinion of us a shambles… it is time to move on. A significant majority said we want to do so.
Try to stick to what we respect you for without driving at least some of us to the point of finding your comments an insult.
John McCain, over boos — none of which you heard in Chicago when his name was mentioned — asked to support his President, and his country. Let’s let the man get started before setting out how you disagree.
Please, and thank you.
— Bill Jorgenson
SJH and Co.
We thank both Ana Ramos and Chris Puentes for their kind words and appreciate both Bill Jorgensen’s most generous assessment of our industry analysis and his willingness to lay his cards on the table.
Emotions often run high after elections and so we would just point out a few things:
First, Mr. Jorgensen makes the point that… “You had your eight years and you failed miserably,” which makes us want to remind Mr. Jorgensen that the Pundit has not been President the past eight years and has written tens of thousands of words disagreeing with the Bush administration’s approach to the financial crisis. We are not sure who Mr. Jorgensen means by “You,” but it certainly isn’t the Pundit.
Second, though we are flattered that Mr. Jorgensen thinks our influence is so vast, we were not present at John McCain’s concession speech in Arizona and had no control over the booing people; we have not supported their actions and, in fact, if we stand for anything, it is civility.
Third, we hope Mr. Jorgenson will re-read our reference to the British concept of “Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition,” because its implication is clearly to point out that there is a right way and a wrong way to disagree. We were pointing out that those Americans who disagree with the policies President-elect Obama espouse still ought to wish him well, do what they can to help him succeed and accept the legitimacy of the election and the vox populi.
We did not urge anyone to oppose any specific policy for the logical reason that Barack Obama is not President yet, and therefore nobody really knows what he will attempt to implement and what will be put on the backburner or was simply campaign rhetoric.
We do believe that elections matter. We will certainly get different policies from a President Obama than we would have from a President McCain. This was going to be a tough year for any Republican, and Mr. Jorgensen gives us the reasons: “…two wars, near depression-like economy, the world opinion of us a shambles…” so the fact that John McCain still received 46% of the vote indicates this is a closely divided country and there will in fact be plenty of opposition to the policies President-elect Obama will follow.
The Pundit readership almost certainly went for Senator McCain because it skews more Republican than the general population. So by laying out the model of a “loyal opposition,” we were doing both Barack Obama and the country a favor by encouraging opponents of his candidacy to channel their energies into being a British-style “Loyal Opposition.”
Besides, as the saying goes, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This means that every President and every party needs an opposition to keep the system honest.
Fourth and finally, obviously the pursuit of “change” made a bully slogan for Candidate Obama. We submit that the slogan is almost useless as a governing principle. Some change is for the best and some decidedly negative, so to merely endorse change is meaningless in policy terms. We all would like to see positive change on the economy, but many think it is an incredible policy and execution achievement that we have avoided another terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11 — that is one status quo most Americans want to keep.
We hope our explanation has helped pull Mr. Jorgensen back “from the edge.” We doubt we all will ever… or should ever… unite for a “common end of change”; instead we prefer the rough and tumble of our politics and think that the challenge is to know both how to compete vigorously and to cooperate vigorously when the race has been run. We think a thoughtful critique is often more valuable to a decision-maker than a bunch of yes men agreeing with whatever the boss has to say.
Our role here at the Pundit is simple: To analyze without fear or favor. To Ana Ramos, Chris Puentes, Bill Jorgensen and all who deign to read these pages, we pledge fidelity to that singular principle.