Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Running it up the flagpole

The strategy has many names. Some call it floating a trial balloon. In advertising, it's running it up the flagpole to see if anybody salutes. 

It's all the same...let's put something out there and gauge the reaction without having it linked to us.

I think both political parties are doing just that, with much of America's attention being focused on the Olympics, the Victoria Osteen trial and whether John Edwards' family has forgiven him for not keeping his pants zipped. Oh, yes, that little war in Georgia. No, not Atlanta; the Russians and the Georgians over a separatist state that has fewer people than a typical block in Manhattan.

There was some chatter about Sen. Barack Obama picking Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican, as his running mate. There has been a lot of chatter about Arizona Sen. John McCain picking Connecticut Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman for the second chair. 

Both don't seem to have much traction, as they say, but it might be a good way of letting the pundits, other pols and those citizens paying attention weigh in on a potential choice.

Neither Hagel nor Lieberman seems to be a probable choice, with Hagel's conservative tag and Lieberman's losing record for vice president and his view as a turncoat by many Democrats, especially the Howard Dean wing of the party.

A little history lesson. The word turncoat comes from the practice around the time of the American Revolution of soldiers turning their uniform coats inside out to indicate they wanted to defect, or at least give up. See what you get for reading the Lens?

But I digress. There's a lot of silliness out there.

 Maureen Dowd, the New York Times Clinton hater, still thinks Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will use her time in the spotlight to mount a last-minute charge for the nomination. At the very least, she thinks Hillary is trying to undermine Obama so he repeats the McGovern-Mondale-Kerry experience at the polls and she has a clear shot at the nomination in four years.

I don't think the Clintons will do that. I think Obama just might blow it all by himself. Believe me, I hope that doesn't happen. We don't need a third Bush term hosted by  a beard (stand-in) with a temper worse than Georgie's and a feeling for the little guy right up there with the robber barons of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

I still think Hillary was the person for the job, but Obama won and he is the party's nomineee. Lieberman won't be chosen, although politically he is a good foil for McCain except for the war. Lieberman's  intelligence can't be questioned -- anyone who's talked with him one on one will come away convinced of that.  

McCain will choose someone who feels as he does about continuing the Bush laissez-faire attitude on businesses that has gotten us into another economic mess that could have been avoided with some regulatory watchfulness from Washington. He'll choose someone like Mitt Romney of Massachusetts as a geographical balance. 

I'm not sure who Obama will choose. Maybe Evan Bayh of Indiana, who's a little too close geographically but maybe that doesn't matter anymore. Of course, he could choose Hillary, which would ensure him of election and, more important, get Maureen Dowd to shut up.

Page 2

There's a story today in the New Haven Independent about former Alderwoman Nancy Ahern speaking out against the purchase of a house in her neighborhood as part of the scattered-site housing program in New Haven. 

I know Nancy from the days before she became an alderwoman, when she was assistant city editor at the New Haven Register. That's when the Register and the Journal-Courier, where I worked, were more worthy of the name newspaper. 

I hope Jack Kramer, the editor of the Register, doesn't take that for an insult. It's not meant to be that, just recognition that Jack's job is impossible because of his lack of resources.

In any case, Nancy was always a fighter for the little guy, the downtrodden. Her comments should be taken in that context.

She right, by the way, when she says the tenants should be given training in how to take care of the house and how to get along with neighbors. 

In Hartford there are, or at least there were years ago, a number of housing initiatives that succeeded. One of the ones that succeeded most spectacularly was the one (I can't recall the name) that required that the tenant help build and maintain the property. 

If that happens, if there is pride in the property, then the tenant becomes part of the solution, not the problem, in the neighborhood. The tenants should have to take care of their property as part of the deal. A little sweat equity, if you will. 

Pride, real pride in accomplishment, is a powerful incentive to behave in a way that would make the new tenants a welcome part of the neighborhood.

Page 3

Did you see that Boston Red Sox-Texas game last night? Wow, what a pitching duel, eh? For those who missed it, it ended up 19-17 Sox.

My wife and I were on a food-shopping trip when I tuned in on the radio. It was the first inning and the Sox were already up 10-0. I said that was that. She asked if a team could come back from such a deficit.

Now, you have to realize that my wife talking about sports in any fashion is proof that the age of miracles has not passed. She grew up in a household where her father and brother were both sports nuts. They both played hockey and were such baseball fans that they could tell you with some accuracy who hit what on what day of what year for the Boston Braves. Her reticence to watch or even talk about sports is a reaction to that.

Anyway, she said that Texas might come back and she was right. Boy, was she right?

My man Yooooooouk saved the day, after commiting an unusual error in his not-usual place at third base. Big Papi, David Ortiz, hit two three-run homers in the same inning and may have been robbed of another one, but my man Kevin Youkilis saved the day by hitting a towering homer with Papi on second.

That's a real six-beer game. I'm glad we won, but you have to give Texas credit for having hitting to make up for their miserable pitching staff.

Until next time...

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