As we stare down the precipice of another financial crisis, we can be thankful that at least 1/4 of us are not unemployed. No one is considering scooping up roadkill and eating it. Our economy is not going to contract by 40%, reversing nearly twenty years of economic growth (I just made both of those numbers up, but they’re somewhat right).
So maybe it makes sense to give Hoover another shot. After all, before he dismally failed as a President, Hoover was a great man. He was known as “the man who fed Belgium.” That was a stunning achievement. During World War I, the man organized a private fleet of vessels and persuaded the Germans (the enemy) to allow him to ship food to starving civilians in occupied Belgium.
The man was the epitome of the very modern ideal (actually, it was a very 1920s ideal) of scientific efficiency in government. He wanted everything quantified, reduced, and explained. So he was completely unprepared for the huge storm that befell him, and just drifted about, doing standard things in standard ways, while our nation fell to pieces.
But this is not the Great Depression. And maybe we don’t need radical solutions, right now. Because the problem, this time, perhaps isn’t that radical. Maybe this time we just need to let some companies fail, tighten our belts for the resulting recession, and come out meaner and hungrier and more cliche-ridden than ever.
To get back to the point I lost a long, long, time ago, when I watched McCain last night in the presidential debate, he seemed much like Hoover. He is a very capable man. Perhaps he does not understand this whole “economy” as much as he might, but he does understand governing. He knows what works, and what does not. And while he campaigns as the “maverick,” maybe some of us don’t want rapid change. We just want stability. We want someone to organize a big old private fleet to feed us. We want security.
And John McCain is comfortable and familiar. He interacts with us in normal ways. He is fundamentally one of the most decent and capable man ever to seek the presidency* (especially from his godforsaken party). And he’d be a nice guy to have around.
Obama is kind of a risk. I will admit that I never really supported him (Hillary would have dominated the debates if she appeared). I kind of think he is an ambitious interloper, one who has proven that he cares more about power than actual governing (of which he has done precious little). And, while I think he is very intelligent, I do think that the government is a horribly complex thing, and if you don’t know its ins and outs, its hard to get anything done.
But then I look at his face.
I will freely admit the appeal of Obama, aside from just being the Democrat (who I would vote for no matter what, making this whole structureless rant kind of pointless), is in his race. I want to live in the kind of country that can elect an African-American to represent. That kind of action is, I feel, so representative of the sort of America we all know exists but none of the rest of the world believes in. As the child of immigrants, I know that this is a land of opportunity. I know that, while there is racism here, there is also tremendous opportunity for dark (colored?) people.
And even if Obama proves to be a lackluster president, no more than just a pretty face and an empty suit, that will be enough for me.
Also…John McCain believes in some crazy economic stuff. Total spending freeze? He totally does think he is Herbert Hoover. Cutting pork? Ummm….eighteen billion dollars of pork is only a miniscule fraction of federal government spending. That’s a month in Iraq. You can’t cut pork and get out of this crisis.
Also, cutting spending? Who does that? No one. It is completely politically infeasible to actually cut spending. Even Bush has dramatically increased spending.
So…yeah, I like Obama. Way to say in 1000 words what I could have said by pulling a lever.