This morning’s live discussion focused on three topics leading today’s headlines, and what those stories mean for us.
With Gov. Rick Perry pulling into the lead in the race for the Republican nomination; we focus even more closely on what the candidate says. In Mr. Perry’s case, that includes some pretty strong, and for me, deeply disagreeable, statements. On everything from his hostility to evolution to his threatening words directed at Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, the TX Governor seems bent on a kind of populism which panders to the deep frustrations felt by more and more Americans. While that may make people feel good, or at least provide a convenient vent for the feeling building up inside them, it is bad for the country and even for the individuals who enjoy Perry’s brand of politics.
Unlike Mitt Romney’s corporate calm, Perry stokes the fires of frustration and deepens divides between people at precisely the moment when greater unity and cooperation are needed. It’s not that I agree with everything Mitt Romney says, but in his own way, Mr. Romney focuses on people, not nameless faceless bogeymen like “big government” and “evolution”. Even Romney’s clumsy comment (now repeated) that “corporations are people” has a wisdom to it.
Corporation, like governments are made up of real people. We can like what they do or not, think that they are constructive or not, but when we attack them as if they exist independent of real human beings; we are making a terrible mistake. Of course, it’s far easier to attack an institution than it is to attack real people, which is why the approach plays so well for so many, but Romney deserves credit for inviting us to remember that when we attack corporations, we are attacking the people who comprise them. Now if only he could remember that the same is true for government.
As to North Africa’s newest “game” – “Where’s Moamar?,” I simply think that we need to stay focused on the real and immediate threats of unsecured poison gas (25,000 lbs of it) and the 20,000 shoulder-to-air missiles currently unaccounted for in Libya. Of course there is value in bringing Qaddafi to justice, but it is largely about visceral satisfaction, and that should take a back seat to the other issues.
And as to the educational background of those serving on Capitol Hill, it really doesn’t matter that almost 80 percent have no degrees in business or economics. Studying business and running a business (if that is even the best way to understand a legislator’s job) are two very different things. In fact, 30 percent of S&P 500 CEO’s studied engineering and liberal arts – about the same percentage as those who studied economics, accounting and business combined.
The truly disturbing statistic is that 55 percent of lawmakers studied humanities, law or government, but seem increasingly incapable of either good governance or treating each other humanely. That reality is far more troubling than what someone studied in college, and it’s why congressional approval ratings stand at about 13 percent. Let’s see our lawmakers do something about that.