Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What People Want

In an interesting online piece at The Atlantic, it's argued that what people really want is not so much happy talk by their president but instead something quite different.
As it turns out, they want honesty. According to a Pew Research Center poll conducted last summer, fully 96 percent of the public say that the requirement that a political leader be honest is either “absolutely essential” (52 percent) or “very important” (44 percent), making it the most sought-after trait in a political leader. In fact, those in Obama’s opposition party are somewhat more likely to say honesty is absolutely essential (59 percent of Republicans) than are those in his own party (50 percent of Democrats) or independents (52 percent).

This is the big debate, of course. Should Obama be honest about the economy, or be a booster, or walk a fine line between the two?

As the article notes, what is truth is debatable -- all resting on your particular political predispositions. That last sentence brought to you by the letter p. But it's an interesting issue in today's economic mess -- do we want a cheerleader or the grumpy guy who tells us the hard truth? Or both? Telling us how bad things are didn't work for Jimmy Carter as president. Hell, almost nothing worked for him. Reagan came along and it was "morning in America" and people responded, so to me the matter is far from settled.

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