Sunday, November 16, 2008

Blackberry as Reality

Back in 1992, as many of you won't remember, when George Bush Papa was campaigning to be re-elected, he once stumbled into a supermarket and was astonished to see the cashier using some modern contraption that wasn't invented the previous time he'd been in a supermarket,many years earlier. The (Bill) Clinton campaign and much of the media had a field day at his expense, of course, talking about how he was out of touch with normal people. He then went onto lose the election for other reasons, and the whole story was rightfully relegated to a footnote; the only reason I remember it is that I'm very old, and also being a trained historian often use footnotes.

(Think what would have happened had he not failed, and had served until 1996: Bill wouldn't have replaced him - and George Bush Sonny wouldn't have been elected to avenge him in 2000, and on 9/11 someone else, perhaps a Democrat, would have been there... But I digress).

Eight years ago (some of you at least must remember that) George Sonny was elected, and we were told at the time that he sent off a final e-mail to his contacts regretting that he'd have to stop mailing. As president, there's some act against e-mails written in the Constitution, and there was the problem of spam floating around in the Oval Office, and so on. He'll be back, writing to his pals, on January 21, if he still has their old addresses...

So today the NYT tells us, unsurprisingly for those of us who are old enough to remember, that by January 20th Barack O is going to have to stop writing e-mails. Except that in his case, it's far worse, given the advent of the Blackberry. And given that he's such a wired chap, in touch with the generation that only reads things only on the internet, and all the other things that you've read about him in this regard. Come January 20th, the man will be relegated back into the Middle Ages. Why, it's just conceivable that in his campaign in 2012 he'll be confronted with some new gizmo we all can't live without, which he'll never have heard of. ("President Obama looks befuddled as a potential first-time voter communicates with his tooth-mail in Middle-Bend, Arkansas, earlier today. Can you imagine? How out of touch can a fellow be?")

Beyond the weak humor, there's also a real issue here. Presidents are supposed to make Big Decisions, and then explain them to the rest of us. That's what they're there for, and we cut out all the distractions that plague the rest of us, so that they'll make the Right Big Decisions. We also cut them off from human beings for security reasons, and this one will be cut off even more given the (reasonable) fear that there will be no lack of kooks raring to hit him. At some point, however, you've got to ask yourself how deep the guy's seclusion can be, and still expect him to make the right decisions for the rest of us, out here in the world living real lives.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Here's a clue. There's nothing private about wireless communication. And, this means that all e-mails are open to court orders. In other words? NO SECRETS. The PResidential Papers would have this loop hole.

"SHOW US YOUR EMAILS" would be something Obama would have to do, IF a judge instructed him that the "White House" lost its "privilege."

Yeah. I know it's tough to get your minds around "rigormarol." Since there are 3 branches of government. And, all presidents work hard at maintaining "their own papers."

FDR was even smarter; he never wrote anything down.

And, when you talked, he'd shake his head, up and down, saying "yes, yes, yes."

In a car ride with FDR, and his wife, Eleanor, when Winston Churchill was a guest. And, it was December 1941. So there's a book out there about this. The men were putting together all sorts of agreements; to tackle the Nazis and Japs. The world was at war.

Anyway, the Roosevelt's felt a trip to Mt. Vernon; to George Washington's home. Would give Churchill the "flavor" of AMerican's first president. And, our national independence from Great Britain.

On the other hand, Churchill was fighting for an Anglo-Saxon alliance; where our Independence would be erased. And, the Brits would take charge of the war.

So, Winston Churchill was talking, during this car ride, for about 7-full minutes. With FDR saying "yes, yes, yes."

When Eleanor piped up with the following: "Winston, when FDR says 'yes, yes, yes, he is not agreeing with you. It just means he's listening."

Politicians develop this art; where they try not to send anyone away angry. And, where disappointments don't interfere with what's passing for conversation.

Will Obama use his Blackberry when he's President? Only if those "I"s are dotted. And, those "T"s are crossed.

No president in his right mind would put public information out there, because he wants to stay in charge of his executive powers.

While some witless judge has already compromised electronic mail.

Again, you're not in charge of the flow of paper. Things are not sealed away in your filing cabinets. Instead? They reside in the public arena. Part and parcel of our "inter-connectiveness."

As to Poppy, being "amazed" at the supermarket scanner; all you'd learn is that the Bush's are quite rich. And, they hire servants to do all their chores. Even if Poppy loved beer, he never, ever, bought a can!

Given this information, you can see how a "photo op" turned into something where the elder Bush said "he was just amazed."

Meanwhile, he headed the CIA for a while. Never did learn much about electronics. So even there, where he was a mandarin, he knew less of the "James Bond" toys and how they worked, than your average Joe.

Yes, presidents trust very few men. They usually pre-select someone, as FDR did, who was a good secrets-keeper. And, who got all the inside information. Plus, he was asked for his opinions.

In all other cases FDR just knew how to be a perfect politician. He wasn't handicapped by paralysis.

Obama's not going to be paralyzed by skin color. And, the GOP? They're in the mode of PLOTZING. Just like our economy.

By the way, the Great Depression that befell the United States, in October 1929, got worse and worse. While Hoover remained president.

Americans vote as the Constiution maps this out. Even during wars. Every 4 years. So, in 1932 the full breath of Hoover's mistakes ended up in a democratic landslide. That lasted until 1952. (And, then Eisenhower, who wasn't a member of any party, chose to run as a republican. Didn't act like one in office, either.)

What really kept happening, after JFK was assassinated, is that there was more power in LBJ's head, than any political ability to convince the people in this nation. LBJ went into Viet Nam, and the only good thing that came of this? CONTAINER SHIPPING. (Because of the union's grip on the world's ports.) Only Viet Nam had no ports. But that's another story. It's been told.

Obama has an opportunity to impress. Just remains to be seen what he does with it.

While I've read he's inviting Michelle's mother to come live with them. Will there be Mother-in-law jokes to follow?

The script practically writes itself.

If Obama finds ways to fix the mess; which was put in place by greed, he stands a good chance of being considered an excellent president.

What's Israel's share in all of this? I have no idea.