I’ll admit I may have bagged it for most of the term, but I learned through osmosis by showing up every day and there’s still the final exam left for me to pull out a C – at least. My memory isn’t clear enough to recall exactly which class I was speaking about at the time. The college years are quite hazy. I reckon that got said pretty much every semester now that I think about it. But the point is that a smart and lazy man can, when finally forced to act, achieve a minimally satisfactory result.
So now one week before the big final exam November 6th we see Barack Obama in a similar predicament. His term has been a failure. He can point to Obamacare and the Stimulus as accomplishments just like I could defer to my many conquests and hijinx in college while trying to gloss over the numbers on paper that people actually care about. Persistent eight percent unemployment and one and a half percent growth is unacceptable. Especially if large numbers of people perceive your actions in some way responsible.
Then along comes Sandy. Here’s his big chance to prove he is indeed minimally competent. All he’s got to do is concentrate on one thing for an entire week and pray nothing goes too wrong. We’ve all been there cramming before a big test, right? Surely he’s crammed for test like everyone else. It’s kind of like prepping for a sales meeting or debate.
Frankly it sickens me that a nation sits breathlessly looking to the president every time some calamity strikes. Don’t we have well-paid professionals who specialize in disaster management? Is any president more of an expert in disaster recovery than the people at FEMA? What specific role does he play? Is he personally diverting convoys of relief workers from one locale to another?
More like Jerry Jones standing on the sideline at a Cowboys game if you ask me. Getting in the way, slapping butts, making a spectacle of themselves.
Why do we employ federal disaster relief managers who are incapable of responding without a president’s guidance? Why do states spend money of disaster preparedness if public opinion on the disaster relief operations are so driven by the president’s perceived performance?
As baffling as it seems to me, the media will use Obama’s soon-to-be-declared decisive actions post-Sandy to pump up his leadership qualities. Bush never recovered from the press shenanigans after Katrina. It’s pretty easy to castigate a guy who’s basically powerless to affect relief operations over such a wide area. It will be interesting to see how they attempt to deify a similarly powerless guy as the clean-up from Sandy plays out.
However it’s framed and assuming there are no major SNAFUs, can a Hail Mary display of competence erase four years of economic stagnation? Dare call it malaise?
How many voters are truly still undecided? Do any exist? Are there people who walk into the booth unsure who’ll get their vote? Lord knows the media has shortened our attention spans and fascinated us with the inane, but is anyone who’s gonna drag their ass off the couch to stand in line and vote really not sure?
I remember there was one class that I’d screwed off hard. Come final time I needed something like a 96 to clear a 70 average in the class. Everyone pretty much wrote me off. Why even take the test, there’s no way you’ll get a 96. Well I screwed up by not dropping the class early and I wasn’t going to screw up again. I knuckled down and studied for a couple of days straight. No drinking, no screwing around. In the library ten hours a day and a couple more hours each evening. I waltzed into the room fresh for the exam, and strutted out knowing I had nailed that freaking test.
Ninety two. Couldn’t even talk my way into a lousy four points. If you’d applied yourself at all this semester instead of doing crossword puzzles and cracking wise during my lectures you wouldn’t be here today. Defeat. I should have just kept drinking.
Anybody else know that feeling?