Monday, April 03, 2006

Where have you been all this time?

At last, a leader who articulates the values of his party while being willing to challenge its dogma. I refer to Barack Obama, who today, acknowledged that the Democrats need to re-examine their New Deal heritage, and who dared to demand performance from teachers in return for better conditions. He exhorted the party to stay true to its core beliefs, while being willing to put obsolete policies to rest.

Last fall, here in California, we were given a Hobson's choice between caving in to the teachers' unions or eviscerating them completely. The rare voices in favour of sensible compromise were drowned out. The truth is, teachers labour under intolerable conditions, and deserve both better pay and more support for their mission. The truth is also, that teachers' unions have made a religion out of the wrong things, like lifetime tenure, instead of focussing on the right things, like their own continuing education, and pay for performance. They will never admit it, but their focus on protecting bad teachers has been bad for all teachers. Why should anyone have lifetime tenure after only two years at their job? But then, why should we expect to attract the best when we pay them barely above the poverty line?

We have been hearing about this shining new talent, Mr. Obama, for some time. In his statements today, he showed the way. If the Democrats can reform, if they can hold to their core values while being willing to jettison dysfunctional methodology, they will deserve a shot at returning to power. If they merely trot him out to attract black votes, and don't listen to what he is saying, they deserve to remain in perdition.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Jim Usdan said...

I like Senator Obama. He is a breath of fresh air. I particulalrly appreciate that he went to CT last week to support my hero Sen. Joe Lieberman even though Obama and Lieberman do not agree on all issues. I hope the very high expectations of Sen. Obama do not burn him out before he has the time to get more experience. By the way, one of my biz acquaintances was in Sen. Obama's Harvard MBA/JD class and says that Obama stood out as being extremely bright even in that rarefied crowd. This is a rare compliment from my biz acquaintance who is a legend in his own mind and, like Larry Summers, thinks that he is the smartest person in any room that he happens to be in. He is also a VC.

April 04, 2006 7:51 AM  
Blogger Carlos Zapato said...

Thanks Jim for the comment. One doesn't have to be in that rarified stratum of brilliance to stand out above the current crowd we have elected to govern us. The bar has been set so low over the past decade that even semiconsciousness would be a great improvement.

April 04, 2006 1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm really tired of the attacks on Bush for his alleged lack of intelligence. There are plenty of people -- smart and not so smart -- who agree with him. Like Lieberman, for instance. He's your hero? What's your definition of a goat?

Anyway, my point is that if we had an inarticulate, dimwitted, alcoholic president with whom we agreed, we'd all be defending him. I mean, where's Ted Kennedy when you really need him?

April 04, 2006 2:01 PM  
Blogger Carlos Zapato said...

First, I don't think either of us was attacking Bush. My comment was actually directed at the entire crowd in Washington, both parties included. Does that make you feel better?

Actually, As a Republican, I find your kind of dimwitted name calling embarrassing. As a tactic, it is getting old--just find an icon you don't like (Kennedy, for example), and haul him out for a flogging whenever you are feeling attacked.

It is about time the people of both parties recognize where they can learn, and Obama seems to be setting an example.

April 04, 2006 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, right. I see that now. You said the whole lot of them is stupid. I do feel better now.

Of course I never said that you (or the other guy) said Bush was stupid, either -- just that I was tired of the attacks on his intelligence.

Nice blog. Keep up the good work, Carlos.

Is that your real name?

April 04, 2006 2:54 PM  
Blogger Carlos Zapato said...

Thanks. the name is a play on words, let's just leave it at that.

I have found that the views expressed here manage to irritate just about everyone at one point or another. The problem is we are so attached to our allegiances that most people stop thinking about what the actual policies mean.

As far as W goes, I do happen to think he's a moron, but that is almost irrelevant. As we have agreed, he is one of many in Washington. The real question is whether his policies are the right policies. On that question, I think that he batting about 1 for 100. The "1" is on immigration reform, where he has proposed a very reasonable and humane approach, and is being mauled by the social conservatives in his own party for doing so.

April 05, 2006 9:10 AM  
Anonymous eric selvin said...

Carlos a republican, I don't think so.

April 05, 2006 11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If his name isn't really carlos he doesn't really have to be a republican.

April 06, 2006 10:54 AM  
Blogger Compay Segundo said...

Tell me it's not true.

May 12, 2006 10:22 PM  

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