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Liberty

Liberty

Suddenly, the presidential election is about foreign policy, defeating a monstrous foe and dealing with the largest human migration emergency since WW2. Our role as world cop, arbitrator and safe haven is under intense scrutiny as leaders mull policy in a tidal wave of breaking news and opinion. While we reconsider our level of participation, the most divisive issues may frame our coming to terms with the crush of refugees streaming desperately towards some minimal perception of safety.

As terrorism explodes worldwide, we’re rightly nervous about protecting our own. And at this writing, two dozen state governors have demanded a moratorium on admitting additional Syrians, on the heels of daily cascading threats and pronouncements in the media. At the same time, the very principles this country has fostered are being weighed against an unexpected wave of paranoia.

On one side are those who advocate closing our borders; the other, a cry for fairness and compassion. Are we headed towards a closed society while the rest of the first world builds camps for millions of displaced people, regardless of their belief? How do we keep our families safe and retain our world leadership simultaneously?

The candidates are polarized. With calls for European and NATO unity, there appears to be an emerging multinational unity, capable of defeating and containing a rogue state that has seemingly declared jihad across the planet.

How will our ideals fare when charity is pushed to the breaking point? Does our history of war-time internment and prejudice in the name of safety portend a shift towards a new level of intolerance in the name of national security? For the candidates, it’s likely these issues will overwhelm the fiscal debates, at least in the short run. And that sharp pronouncements on foreign and immigration policy may play a major role in their political survival.

JM

 

 

DebateGrate

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Debates bring out the killer instinct in some people. Particularly in moderators who are just as worried about their numbers as the candidates.

Ya gotta love those moments when the TV head strafes a candidate and then sits there serenely getting flamed for asking the question, let alone an answer.  So now we’re vetting the questioners and the networks. Who’ll rise to respectability and who’ll win on entertainment value?

Here’s some questions I’d like to ask — if the candidates were legally required to answer them directly:

Sir, are you able to detail the literal steps you would take to deport 10 million people within the first months of your presidency or will you once again revert to answering with a simple “Trust me, it’ll happen”?

Do you believe that by winning the oil field discovery lottery, the positive numbers in your state revenue could be duplicated in states without magically appearing commodities?

How exactly would a no-fly zone work over Syria, in light of their possessing state-of-the-art anti-aircraft gunnery and aircraft and the obvious wherewithal to use it?

By eliminating hundreds of wasteful spending federal agencies, do you believe each state would be able to then equal or surpass similar schooling, rights and subsistence programs?

OK, wait.

C’mon, wouldn’t it be more fun to persist with the facebook-style stuff? Let’s get the answers Americans crave:

Governor, isn’t this about the family promising it’s your turn?

Governor, if you’re going to persist in throwing your weight around, don’t you think it might be a good idea to be in good enough shape to not get winded after the first ten seconds?

Sir, besides Muslims, in what order would other religions would be on your no-president list? How about your vice-presidential list?

Ma’am, why haven’t we seen the merest hint of sexual innuendo in all of the released super-secret emails between you and your husband?

Dude, you’re obviously cute enuf to be president, but are you buff enuf?

Sir, your suggestion of the federal legalization of weed suggests you may have made it when you yourself were high. Are you, like, right now?

Guys, if we turned this whole evening into a caged wrestling match and only let the last three who were still standing out, who would it be and would anyone like to throw the first body slam before the bell?

Line forms right down the center aisle…

And American Electorate, if we reminded you all that there’s still a full year of this campaign coming, except it’ll be getting more intense by the week, who’d like to sign up for priority seating for a substantial non-refundable fee right now?

Senator, any final thoughts before we never pay attention to you again?

-JM

james@voiceoverla.com

Willie or Won’ He

Ten thousand thoughts a day are whizzing past Joe Biden’s head and he’s got to be about the closest thing to a human binary calculator as can be right now: yes no yes noyesnoyesno…Joe Biden Decision

 

Let’s see how Hillary does on SNL. In the debate. On the hill for the email inquiry. How presidential is she? How assured, how bulletproof? Why am I doing this? Am I being railroaded into something I don’t really want to do. DO I want to do it? Can I stand the pace, the pressure, the relentlessness, the scrutiny. Do I want to be analyzed to death, do I want everyone talking about and sympathizing with the tragedies in my family, am I USING my family to gain favor, to capture momentum, to win something I wouldn’t normally win.

What kind of support is out there? Which unions that haven’t committed, which that have but will change, how does this affect my relationship with Obama for the next year and a half, I’m so damn tired, no I’ve got the energy and I’m so close! What about the kids and the grandkids, have I really got the stamina, I’m 72 fer cryin’ out loud, doesn’t anyone ever get to rest and relax and have some kind of life other than being of service every minute of every day, what about scandal, what have I done, am I squeaky clean, what will they find, what’s my swift boat moment and can I live through it do I care?

What if I do and run and make it through a year’s worth of crap and now I’m elected and I’ve got to get a hopelessly split congress to agree on something anything, what’s my agenda and how do I reconcile it with what’s past and future? Am I that much different from Barack on health care, foreign policy, domestic agenda and whether or not I am (I’m not) how the hell do I get a majority to work with me if the country remains bitterly split and we wake up with the same furious assaults on the healthcare plan and getting back into multiple wars and shoring up a crumbling infrastructure, finding new jobs and opportunities and managing streams of immigrants and isis and global warming and screaming corporations?

What’s different about me that’s going to make any of that work and my god, that’s why so many people are screaming for someone anyone who’s an outsider who can swoop in and kick butt and that’s so not me and ohmygod it’s so true you’d have to be crazy to want to be president what the hell am I trying to prove, I mean is any part of this actually me at all or just all the believers around me and what for, what difference will it make and can I actually do this and do I actually care enough to…   Pffbt : whatever.

-James

james@voiceoverla.com

 

Business as Usual?

There’s a cartoon in the New Yorker showing the back of a duck-blond haircut guy facing a phalanx of scowling generals in the White House war room. Caption: “Nuke the hell out of ‘em, then we’ll build something terrific.”

Right now, the presidential race is dominated by Washington outsiders. You’re already part of the machine? We hate you. You’re one of us, someone who can step in, kick butt and get things – the things we want – done? Step right this way.

Obama recently said (paraphrasing here) “This isn’t a video game. You win, you sit down in January, a whole new reality comes crashing down.”  The question is, really, who’s better suited? If Washington politics are so paralyzed that the biggest issues are getting lost, or worse, becoming a regular catalyst to shutting down the government and the business of running the country, maybe the best thing to do is to get someone who’s good at business and kick some butt.

Could Congress actually work that way? How would the difference manifest? How does a business person walk in and get past the lofty rhetoric of change and somehow transcend a bitterly divided Hill, sworn in allegiance to individual causes and dug in for the long haul?

You can’t lay a congressman off. You can’t split the Senate in half and declare it two separate working units, independent of one another. You can’t offer incentive bonuses or stock splits, two-for one health insurance memberships, limited time sales, comedic video campaigns that go viral or simply sell the government to another government and then start a little boutique government from scratch with pet projects that are bound to work!

 

business magazine cover

 

The difference between business and politics is that in politics, you have to do business with everyone, like it or not. And they have to agree to do business with you.

-James

james@voiceoverla.com

The Donald Takes the Reins

Politics aside, there’s a bull in the china shop and we’re lovin’ the show. The nightly news leads with real or imagined stories on his latest antics. People flock to rallies to hear his next incendiary blast. Special interest groups stir the waters, competitors scramble for relevance and election fever sweeps across the media like it’s already 2016.

The undeniable truth: Trump is good for business. And the more he claims to be, the more he pumps it up. Advertising, guest services, convention and meeting centers, food, transportation… revenue is up and as candidates scramble to get their messages out, budgets are blossoming.

trump-cover-final

Scott Walker’s departure barely moves the needle but he shouts out to his colleagues: circle the wagons, it’s gonna be a slog. As if we didn’t know, but this soon? For many of us, election fatigue was so pervasive in the last presidential run, we cringed at the idea of this new cycle. Did we know it would be on us with such ferocity this soon? How does that portend for the coming months in a hyper-sensitive social network that condemns and demands within hours of an unexpected comment?

For those of us in the media, there are two options: taking the high road and remaining politically neutral, so that we may work with and service a variety of oncoming projects and deadlines. Or drawing a line and declaring allegiance to one side or another.

I feel fortunate to represent a variety of professionals with their own opinions. We discuss the challenge of fair and ethical performances and find that there are those who, just like so many other voters, will hold to a set of beliefs and act only within their constraints. And others who want to be available to help express a variety of viewpoints… so long as they aren’t too far afield from what seems right. Or left.

There’s a long path ahead. Let’s pay attention to the quality of the work we do and see just how entertainingly the candidates portray themselves, as we work to enhance the business of America’s democracy.

 

-James
james@voiceoverla.com