Monday, July 14, 2008
Faith and Fear -- Restored
Yesterday -- Sunday -- I watched Fareed Zakaria’s show on CNN again: GPS -- Global Public Square. The show is only six weeks old but Mr. Zakaria is already making a name for himself. Already, his guests have included Henry Kissinger, Condoleezza Rice and Gordon Brown -- the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister. I don’t want to turn this entry into a review of the show -- but it’s a great show. I first discovered Mr. Zakaria on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He’s a regular (and charming) guest on The Daily Show. His show, GPS, is as serious as The Daily Show is amusing.
Mr. Zakaria’s first guest yesterday was Barack Obama. Senator Obama has been taking a lot of hits in the Press lately. He’s made a couple of votes in the Senate which I found disappointing. It’s to be expected, as he “moves towards the center” for the general election, but it was disappointing nevertheless.
After watching the interview, my faith in Senator Obama has been restored. There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Senator Obama is a skillful orator. That, in of itself, is a refreshing change from the Current Occupant. The oratory wasn’t on display yesterday. Instead, Senator Obama had the hesitant, awkward rhythm that is forced upon people as they try to answer a difficult question without making a misstep that will come back to bite them at a later date. Despite that, Senator Obama gave thoughtful, intelligent and insightful answers. Best of all, Mr. Zakaria allowed him to answer his questions fully. Mr. Zakaria challenged Senator Obama’s answers on a couple of occasions but he didn’t interrupt him to do so, and once asked, he allowed the Senator to answer. How refreshing.
Mr. Zakaria’s second group of guests were all economists: Jeff Sachs, Larry Summers and Paul Krugman. Can you say “Wow !” about a group of economists ? Oh well, they’re impressive but they were depressing. In an odd way, they sounded more political than the previous guest -- the politician. In short, there isn’t any really good economic news and we’ll be very, very lucky if things don’t get very, very ugly.
I believe that is why they were all couching their words as carefully as a politician. In economics, their words count and they don’t want to fan the flames of any panic. Everyone that reads my blog knows I’m crazy about Krugman. He tried to put the best face on it yesterday -- noting that some of our best economic policies were created during a crisis. That sounded slightly positive and hopeful. But then you realize the crisis he was talking about was the Great Depression. That’s...well, depressing. And scary.
I keep Paul Krugman’s blog listed in the links section for a reason. You might want to check out his blog entry from yesterday. Not only is it a valuable history lesson, you might notice a theme you see in this blog on a regular basis.
July 14, 2008