Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March Madness and Political Kabuki

Political Arena Topic: The Brackets Presidency

People forget that presidents are human beings, not robots that operate 24/7/365. They need rest and relaxation too—after all, they have perhaps the most challenging job on the planet. So, if the president wants to take a half hour out of his schedule to fill out an NCAA bracket, I think we should cut him some slack just like we should cut other presidents slack for clearing brush on their ranch, playing golf, pitching horseshoes, or fly fishing, even during a war.

The president’s role as chief diplomat requires that he travel internationally from time-to-time. Unless there is an immediate domestic crisis, it is never a good idea to cancel or reschedule these types of trips. There is incredible expense and time put into planning such missions. And by delaying or cancelling such a high-profile trip, the president may be elevating to crisis level an issue that may not be worthy of that designation (e.g., budget talks). Though the events in the Middle East and Japan are very serious, they are also not happening on American territory and there is only so much the president can do. Besides, with the ability to take their own flying command center with them (Air Force One) and with the most advanced communications technology of the 21st Century at their disposal, it makes little difference whether the president is at the White House or in Waxahachie, Texas.

In the current political environment, criticism of the president is to be expected regardless of who the president is and regardless of what action they take. If the current president were a Republican who was filling out a bracket, you can bet the Democratic National Committee would be all over him. It is a political Kabuki dance and nothing more.

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