Nov 28, 2008

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Back in the Saddle

  I have been woefully remiss in attending to this website the past few months.  It sucks when life and in this case death gets in the way of partaking in self indulgent pleasures. 

    So in the past two  months I have been on trial in Kansas City (we won, staving off a potential $1.5 B in liability — rest assured I actually represented the good guys here); then I had to shoot out to California for a 24 hour turn around for another case that was supposed to start trial but got adjourned a month (the only benefit of the trip was I had the pleasure of sitting alongside a former Playboy playmate on my way out West –very former but she still looks great); I was elected President of MDI, a month later we elected a new POTUS who has already begun to provide an invaluable roadmap for me to follow in the art of effective leadership; two men who I came to know and admire tremendously through my men’s work died unexpectedly — weeks apart; my daughter turned 13; the financial infra structure of the United States  has crashed and burned and some collegues of mine are presently caught up in the chaos in India. 

     I am sure there is more but that is enough for me to dwell on for now.  So here goes.

    First the election.  My guy won.  Although he wasn’t always my guy but Barrack Obama has weathered the onslaught of the media and the rigors of an endless campaign and has done so very gracefully.  I have heard from people who knew the Big O way back when when he was a summer associate at the Chicago law firm of Sidley and Austin that he was always ambitious and just a tad arrogant (although I suspect if he were white the descriptive word would have been cocky or confident but I digress.)  I haven’t seen any of that arrogance in his public persona.  He has done a great job in demystifying himself.  I mean the guys plays hoops.  When have we ever had a president who while in office embraced a very physical and sweaty sport as a means of relaxing.  No golf or sailing here and no solitary jogging or chopping wood.  Basketball is a street game that places heightened emphasis on teamwork and requires a participant to survey the court, quickly identify an opening and seize the moment.  What’s not to like about a leader who calls this his game.

      I actually am lookingt forward to have a real family take up residence in the White House.  The Obamas are not moving in with a sense that this was their birthright, rather I think they feel they got there by being able to be nimble enough to seize on the moment just like a skilled point guard.  This was not supposed to be Barrack’s year. I think everyone thought that his moment was at least eight years off.  But the Obama campaign clearly changed the game which any one in the marketing biz will tell you is necessary when you want to move quickly from obscurity to front runner.  But the key to Obama’s success in my mind was his ability to shift again and then again with each changing benchmark in the campaign.  McCain made the mistake of riding his  psuedo “maverick” status way too long, he scored a major coup in naming Sarah Palinas his running mate but didn’t know how to follow up on the initial bounce, and Joe the Plumber……. somebody get the Draino. 

       But Obama kept shifting.  If I were to be cynical — which I can be — I’d go so far as to say that things like the Reverand Wright bump in the road were actually planned dramas designed to give Obama some street cred as a man of principle who knows when to cut ties and move on.

        But leaving aside the results here, we have got to change the system.  The campaign goes on way too long, places too much leverage in a few swing states and doesn’t really serve the country very well.  I am not sure it makes sense to go through this wholesale overhaul every eight years when we shift parties and change ideologies because the folks in office got a little too full of themselves and abused their power.  While I’d like to think that won’t be the case this go round, the reality is Joe Biden will not be running for President in 8 years — he’ll be too old, and if Hillary is the next Secretary of State she will be too removed from the domestic political areana to have traction as a viable candidate. That means in about five years the positioning and politicing will begin again and the Democrats will begin to cannibalize themselves to both rise above the fray and get whatever spoils are to be had from the low hanging fruit before the country inches back towards the right.  It’ll be nice to be proven wrong though.  In the mean time I’ll keep me fingers crossed and wait and see.

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