Daily Archives: March 20, 2009

The President We Deserve

If, as they (who ‘dey?) say, we get the President we deserve, does that mean we’ve suddenly become a better country?

I suppose it seems no more intimate to think of the President as “Barack,” than as “W”. To me, at least, “Barack” seems like an affectionate appellation, whereas “W” insinuated a taunting nickname, a kinder, gentler “Turd Blossom.” Is that affection I feel when I think “Barack” instead of “President Obama” the same feeling the 29%’ers felt and feel for the 43rd President? I guess that’s possible.

But can anyone seriously imagine W answering Jay Leno’s question, last night, about the bailout and how bank balance sheets work? Explain, to the public at large, on a talk show, what Tier 1 capital requirements are, for instance, to enthusiastic applause?

Call me a Hope junkie, but I believe we’ve gotten both the President we deserve, and the President we need. On good days, I believe that, leading by example, this President is going to help restore some of the integrity, honesty and decency to American culture and society that we need and that the majority of us long for. On bad days, of course, I still despair that good guys still always finish last, that thieves are the only true representative Americans, and that the self-important nouveau riche (bobos in paradise, if you will) will continue to set the tone for our society at large.

Insofar as Barack’s “brand” is the political embodiment of our “good day” selves, here’s wishing our better angels prevail. I think most of deserve it, and him.


Today’s Today show job search lede: “Starting over at 40 – The New Interns.”

Now, I’ve worked a lot of places, and very few of them – including places like unions and union pension funds that had no money to call their own – ran on such a tight budget that they couldn’t dredge up a couple of hundred a week to give someone a “job” instead of an “internship” if they needed something done. Today, it’s like, “hey we have a new client, let’s hire some interns.” Or “Wow, that filing’s really piled up, let’s hire an intern.” The executive assistant at one of my clients is an “intern.” He’s been an “intern” for, like, two years. I’d like to see them try to hire an executive assistant for the barely-over-minimum-wage salary that kid is making.

So, further to, and in honor of, Keith Olberman’s “special comment” last night about the excesses of contemporary corporate culture – which was itself in response to news that Citicorp just redecorated its senior executive offices to the tune of $10 million (quick: how many $100,000/year jobs is that?) – enough with the internships, guys! In the old days we had a name for these kinds of internships: They were called jobs. (A nice Anglo-Saxon four-letter word that, “jobs.”)