Thursday, September 25, 2008

Shoot the Message

I listened to President Bush talk about the current financial meltdown, and the need for immediate action, and immediately felt that he was engaging in scare tactics, attempting to convince me that if I didn't support his plan, that I risked my financial well-being. Surely, I thought, there is more than one way to skin this particular cat. I was also put off by his call for fixing the regulatory structure later, once the immediate crisis had passed. Yes, I know that I'm being rampantly cynical, but I think that I've been around the block enough times to understand that "we'll fix it later" is political speak for "we'll blow it off, and you'll forget about it." The President even spoke about single companies having such a huge influence on our collective financial health, without addressing the fact that no single company should ever have been encouraged to get that big in the first place.

But what I'm not sure of is why I had a negative reaction. Was the President really simply spouting rhetoric that I felt was infantilizing and designed to create support for a quick fix while dodging doing the hard (and painful) work of really fixing things? Or does the fact that I really don't think that President Bush was (is) very good at being President taking things that I'd have tolerated out of say, Harold Washington (the late Mayor of Chicago), and making them sound somehow sinister?

Do I have enough dislike of the messenger that it killed my tolerance of the message?

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