Thursday, May 01, 2008

Going positive

It is one thing to be besieged by "distractions", but it is wholly another thing entirely to act distracted. Being a politician and being in the lead means inviting distractions. That is just the nature of the political process. They key issue is not whether there are distractions, but how a politician responds to those distractions. So far, he has been quite uneven and veered from one extreme to the other, either trying to use ridicule and blaming the messenger, or getting angry and upset and leading us to conclude that he feels that he is special and entitled to be free from distractions. A lot of this inconsistent behavior can simply be chalked up to inexperience and a learning experience. Now, the question is whether and what he actually is learning from this experience and whether he can truly begin to transcend the distractions and actually be positive about it all. I am sure that he can do it, but so far he has not shown a will to do it. His Philadelphia speech on race relations was an interesting attempt, maybe his best so far, but once again he was inconsistent in his follow-through, resulting in people feeling that they must be missing something and wondering when he will finish the story. He talks a lot about a "new politics", so the big question now is whether his advisers push him to go more positive and stay more positive or whether he falls back and aloows them to convince him to resort to more of the "old politics" negativity that we saw at the end in Pennsylvania. I hear him doing a lot of blaming of other people, but that is not the kind of positive that we need. Sure, his poll and financial numbers remain high, but that seems more a function of the hope of his supporters rather than his own reality.

The issue is not how to put distractions behind us, but how to realistically acknowledge them and figure out creative ways to accommodate them without yielding on our values. Only through transcendence can anything really appear to finally be "behind" us. Even Hillary seems to have figured that out, although she does not practice it consistently either.

Regardless of what tactics Hillary and McCain may have in store for us in the coming days, it will be interesting to see is Barack chooses to transcend it all and live up to his promises of not participating in the "same old game" of politics in Washington, played out "in a (political) theater near you."

The spotlight is now brightly upon him. He can do it. Let's see what he acutally does.

Meanwhile, Hillary has been on a rare positive streak. Let's see if she can keep that up without reverting to form.

-- Jack Krupansky


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