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Tom Finneran: Stringing a Necklace of Wandering Political Thoughts

Friday, October 26, 2012


Tom Finneran, GoLocalWorcester MINDSETTER™

•Do all of John Kerry’s critics, especially Michael Moore, want to retract their fierce criticism of the Senator’s role in and responsibility for President Obama’s abominable first debate performance? Obama was much better in the second and third debates, so much so that most commentators and post-debate “snap polls” gave Obama the edge in both. Give John Kerry lots of credit. He did a very good job in preparing the President. Those who maligned Senator Kerry owe him a very public apology. I don’t think that President Obama is an eager “student”.  In fact…

•I think that one of the President’s great weaknesses is his sense of intellectual superiority. I do not think that he is a very good listener. The stories abound, even from Obama staffers and supporters, that he thinks he is smarter than everyone else. If true, this could prove to be a fatal conceit, for if Obama loses it will be because of that horrific first debate. Many things happened on the stage that night in Denver and none of them were good for the President. Sky-high self-regard and a bad attitude regarding debate prep and homework are not the ingredients of success.

•Is the media capable of ignoring Donald Trump? This guy is the blowhard of blowhards. Is all the fuss and hullabaloo about Trump’s musings and pronouncements merely a reflection of us, of our tastes and preferences for “entertainment”, no matter how preposterous?  If so, then I am really, and happily, out of step with the times. Here’s a suggestion for all the news directors out there---forget Trump and his antics for airtime. Substitute stories about good teachers, good coaches, good students, and good books. You’ll feel better in the morning and at least some of your viewers will appreciate the positive people in our midst.

•Did you see the post-debate family tableau on stage after the third debate?  What a sight for sore eyes. Mitt Romney’s sons speaking in a most gracious and friendly manner with Michelle Obama, and Michelle and Ann Romney bringing genuine warmth and mutual respect to what had been a brutally competitive setting only moments before, putting everyone at ease and giving the television audience a sense of what’s possible in American politics. Indeed, the principals themselves spent some extra time with each other during the post-debate handshake, sharing a comment or two that seemed to elicit real laughter from their opposite number. I have my own theory as to what they said to each other… Don’t you wonder about that?  For the principals themselves, it reminded me of top-notch athletes competing for a championship with everything they have and yet having the grace and the class to acknowledge the worthiness and effort of their opponent.  Much like General Grant taking General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.

•Speaking of sights for sore eyes (and sounds for sore ears), I have had it with all the political ads. Just this morning, while watching the early news, I counted seven political ads in a row. Millions and millions of dollars are being spent to present the most tortured distortions of people and their records. Re. Brown v. Warren, neither of these candidates is evil. In fact, if they were not seeking political office, they would each be admired for lives of achievement and success. Sure, there are political differences between them, and we can make our political judgements accordingly. But, it is an insult to you as a voter, and to the process itself, to caricature candidates in such stark distorting fashion. It’s no wonder that good people don’t seek public office. Who wants to put their family through such an ordeal? And, the quantum addition to the public’s cynicism about our political leaders is not healthy for the nation. Having eviscerated them in constant, cruel, and vicious fashion, do we really expect them to be able to lead with any semblance of credibility?

•Kudos to Bob Schieffer, the moderator for the third debate. He was, by far, the best of the bunch; thoughtful, prepared, and scrupulously fair to the candidates. As with a good umpire or referee in an important game, he did not become part of the post-debate commentary. Well done.

•And speaking of games, Re. the Red Sox, and not to pile on in their season of woe, I could not help but notice the clutch and impressive play of one Coco Crisp and one Marco Scutaro, refugees from lovable Fenway. I’m happy that they made it to the post-season. May they long continue to play and enjoy the game the way it should be played.

I’ll catch you next week. Until then, love life.


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