Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Obama gets BotD r.e. Blagosphere, but watch out for Car Czar

So by now, everyone outside of the state of Illinois knows what those of us who live here have intuitively known for years -- That Rod Blagojevich is a fucking prick. I mean, how fucking dare he? It's like he had an inferiority complex bestowed upon him by his father-in-law, and decided show the world that he could out-clout Dick Mell. Everybody knew he was shady, but few if any imagined the extent. Did his wife push him, à la Lady Macbeth, as the Chicago Tribune suggests?

And you just know that he heard about those laid-off Chicago factory workers striking and said to himself "Self, now's your time to shake down the Bank of America."

I have no reason to believe that Obama was mixed up in the Blagosphere.

However, here's something that Mr. Obama, for whom I voted, needs to think about: The more we lean towards solutions with influence- (or as we call it here, "clout-") heavy individuals who have federal (or other governmental) authority over industries with huge amounts of money flying around, the more likely we are to have more Blagojeviches (Blagojevichi?), Kilpatricks, and Cunninghams. The last thing I want to see is some "Car Czar" still in office five years from now... All we need is some RFK Jr.-style do-gooder in there looking for ways to expand government influence in the private sector and you will have another (possibly more subtle) Blago on that guy's coattails looking for some angles to cash in on.

I said this a few weeks ago: More on my pessimism and optimism about Obama later. OK, "later" is now. I am still excited about his upcoming presidency (although he could have been a maverick and gone with Chuck Hagel for Secretary of State) but that doesn't mean that he gets my unconditional support on everything.

Now I love my job; I really do and I say that without a hint of sarcasm. My company went through a lot of changes in the past couple of years, and one personal regret was that I didn't voice skepticism about certain things more vigorously and clearly. (You can't always look at the silver linings, you also need to look at the clouds.) Because I love my company and it has enabled me do some very cool things, I feel I owe it my skepticism; not so I can have an excuse to complain, but because I want to contribute to making it better. I hope I can make good on that debt.

The same thing goes for the United States, and for Barack Obama. Because I am hopeful and excited about his presidency, and because I love this country and want the best for its citizens and guests, I feel obligated to throw out criticism when I think it is merited.

Back to the Car Czar thing, Barack (and yes, I know the Bush Administration is throwing that idea around too) -- I drove Fords almost my whole life, and they would alternate between nickel-and-diming me to death, and clearing out my savings account at one fell swoop when they needed major engine work. Then, a few years ago, I got a Kia. I drive it 20 miles to and 20 miles from work every day, and it now has 60,000+ miles on it. Guess how many problems I've had with it? Exactly one, when the circuit breaker for the windshield wipers was defective. This was replaced for free as soon as I brought it in, and that was it.

Instead of those auto execs driving to Washington to testify before Congress, they need to drive to South Korea, stay there for six months, and then go back to Detroit and imitate whatever they saw.

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