Ken Collins: Obama's success


Back in the early '90s, a young Tiger Woods burst onto the PGA scene. There was lots of hoopla and expectations but also a lot of folks ready to toast him if he failed. Within a few years, he put several major championship wins in his trophy case as the world's greatest golfer. For a little while longer, Jack Nicklaus, said about Tiger's ability: "He plays a type of game of which I'm unfamiliar."

Fast forward to 2006. Another young African-American burst onto the political scene to run for president, a political "major." Very few, if anybody, gave him a chance. Say hello to President-elect Barack Obama. Once again, many of the greats in presidential political history have said the same as Nicklaus did about Tiger. Obama ran a campaign with which we are unfamiliar. It will be studied for years to come in political science classes. It will be copied. Eventually, it may be improved. Much will be and has been written about the details.

But the bottom line is that there never has been a bigger vote total, a more diverse voter support and a larger world impact from the results. From Canada to South Africa, from Chile to Finland, and from Sydney to London, people have been waving American flags the likes of which we have never seen. It's so much better to see them waved than burned.

It was amazing to be a witness for the event on Tuesday. Not everybody liked the results. But it was historical, and that makes it memorable. I don't envy the newly elected president and the task ahead. But I certainly will wish him God's speed.

Ken Collins

Oak Creek


JLM 8 years, 5 months ago

"Schools give you the education you need to succeed in politics."

Yeah, I've noticed all the college professors who have been elected to high office in the US. LOL

If you've got it, do it. If not, teach.

President-elect Obama has won the election and on 21 January 2009, he will be responsible for governing the United States of America. Governing is the challenge of converting ideas into reality and there is a huge difference between campaign rhetoric and governing.

Already President-elect Obama has begun to make fateful decisons which will impact upon his ability to translate his campaign promises into reality.

The choice of Rahm Emanuel as his Chief of Staff --- which I think is a very good choice for President-elect Obama for a number of reasons --- is a very targeted and strategic decision as it sends important signals to the country, the political establishment and the world.

First, Rahm Emanuel is a very, very partisan Democratic operative and has no record of working with the Republicans. This is not necessarily a bad thing as RE will talk Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid down off the ledge when they inevitably come to the White House with their goofy legislative plans.

Second, RE is a very influential and passionate Jew (maybe even devout) who served Israel in the time period of the first Gulf War (Israel was under attack by Iraqi Scud missiles). If memory serves me right, he was repairing trucks during his 90-day stint in Israel. In my view, this move is a clear rebuttal to those who would draw too much importance to the PLO/Khalidi connection. It sends a very important message to Israel and American Jews.

Third, RE was a Wall Street investment banker (though officed in Chicago) with Wasserstein Perella (mergers and acquisitions boutique firm) and has an intimate knowledge of the Wall Street culture of greed --- he himself is reported to have made approximately $18MM in less than two years. This experience will come in handy in dealing with the bailout.

Fourth, RE served on the Board of Freddie Mac during the time period when the overseers criticized the Board for insufficient oversight. RE received over $250,000 for less than 2 years service. He knows the abuses of the system and Barney Frank, et al, will not be able to sweet talk their way around RE on these issues.

What is perhaps more critical is the fact that the appointment of RE by President-elect Obama is a wily admission of his own weaknesses and a measured attempt to shore up his own shortcomings. That is a very shrewd and good thing for a leader to do. Hire folks who make your collective efforts stronger by filling in your own gaps.


arshouse 8 years, 5 months ago

Although the golf analogy is kind of corny, well put Ken.

At this time, let us take the president elect for who he is. Barack Obama is a political dynamo who has quickly ascended the ranks against all odds, including staunch opposition from his own party. He is indeed a brilliant scholar and orator, but also a true leader. He led a campaign unprecedented in our nation's history, inspiring more people to get involved in the election process than ever before. His ability to remain positive and calm throughout the campaign, always stressing the issues, addressing the questions asked, and staying focused, is remarkable. He displays the intelligence and respectful demeanor that this country has been lacking in its leadership for a long time.

Too many people are already trying to jump all over Obama, positively or negatively. On the one side, you have the Rush Limbaugh/Rob Douglas crowd, eager to charge the president elect with crimes against the "real" American people that he has yet to commit. On the other side you have the Bill Mahr/(insert local liberal editorialist here. Oh yeah, there isn't one!) crowd, gleefully predicting how Barack will lead this newly liberated country into the promised land.

All of the divisive fighting between political parties does not help anyone, in this country or around the world. Let us try to focus on the important issues and do something positive. A central theme of Obama's message was personal responsibility. All of the our country's (actually the world's) problems can be looked at as opportunities for personal improvement, whether they be paying off debt, conserving resources, spreading peace, or extending a helping hand to one of our neighbors in need.

Let us use this occasion as an excuse to spread peace, hope, optimism, pride, and patriotism. A little positive energy from everyone adds up to a better place for all!


JLM 8 years, 5 months ago

Hmmmm, may be just a bit premature?

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I think that Tiger Woods earned his acclaim through years or practice and performance at increasing levels of competition and when he came out on the Tour, he competed head to head with the best golfers in the world and won repeatedly.

Tiger earned his reputation based on performance at the highest level. In head to head competition, he was well a ................. TIGER!

Wiithout minimizing the significance of President-elect Obama's impressive victory, he has yet to actually tee off in the game of governance. Governance is, after all, the President's game, isn't it?

In addition, I am not so sure that President-elect Obama won so much as I am sure that his opponent lost and lost convincingly. It was a tough year for a Republican to prevail for any of a number of reasons. Not the least of which was the economy.

I am filled with hope that President-elect Obama will prevail in his game, governance, as well as Tiger has in his. It will require the same dogged determination and focus and a bit of character as Tiger has routinely exhibited. Tiger mastered his game and was only tested by performance --- no style points in golf.

The real question is whether President-elect Obama can govern as well as he can talk and campaign? Or as well as Tiger can actually play golf under pressure. President-elect Obama is just now approaching the first tee though he looks pretty damn impressive on the practice tee.

I certainly hope so and folks who have important concerns about the economy, taxes, healthcare, energy, jobs, bi-partisanship, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and our safety hope so too. We are all ready for the promised change and filled with hope.

Here's hoping that President-elect Barack H Obama is a Tiger! Grrrrr!


stillinsteamboat 8 years, 5 months ago

Oh, and a real bonus with Obama, He has actually read and taught the Constitution. JLM-It's sad you keep hanging on to your partisan views. Let's face it, you and Druggie Limbaugh will have a field day with President Obama no matter what.


JLM 8 years, 5 months ago

Well, I guess we are making a bit of progress. Now instead of labelling anybody who questions The One as a racist, they are labelled as a "partisan". LOL

That is progress of a sort, isn't it?

The analogy stands --- Tiger is for real and President-elect Obama is yet to prove that the analogy is an apt analogy. Not a huge partisan comment --- just a simple statement of fact.

I hope that President Obama is as good at governing as Tiger Woods is at golf. I just want to see it on the scoreboard and not in somebody's imagination. Fair comment.

I could care less about Rush Limbaugh, et al, and it is a weakness in your argument to assume that someone who simply observes something about The One must draw their energy from his other detractors. Grow up!


oldskoolstmbt 8 years, 5 months ago

better than welcome to 1950, aich! amazing...he hasn't even been elected for a week and you can't wait to be the negative crusifier..typical.. it's unfortunate that MR. Obama will have to change so many of the dirty diapers left from the bush administration before he can even think about putting his positive change movement into motion...if only he was handed the US bush was in 2000, then you would have apples to compare to apples.


playa46 8 years, 5 months ago

There is a very good reason why Obama won and McCain didn't, Obama was positive while McCain tried to scare us out of Obama's vote. Therefore, it wasn't a vote for John McCain, but a vote against Obama.

I am kind of sick of Obama not having enough practice for the job. Schools give you the education you need to succed in politics. Although, first-hand experience works well also. I think we all know that Obama lacks all the experience some Americans are thriving for, so why is he the next President?

It is because 51% percent of Americans agree on his views on things like energy, the Iraq War, Global Warming, healthcare, abortion and the current financial crisis. As said over and over again, lots of people simply don't want four more years as the last eight, which McCain would have done.

It has all been said and done, I suppose the only thing we can do now is do what we were meant to do, be America.


stillinsteamboat 8 years, 5 months ago

JLM George Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove also earned their reputation.


aichempty 8 years, 5 months ago

No matter what happens over the next four years, I rest secure in the knowledge that I don't have to regret the vote I cast on election day.

It appears that Mr. Obama is hiring his staff from longtime Washington insiders and former Clinton staffers. The most notable exceptions are Bill and Hillary.

On the old automatic phonographs we used to have, when you pushed the "change" lever and there wasn't anything new to drop down on the turntable, it just went back to the beginning and played all the same songs again.

Welcome to 1992.


Jonathan Casson 8 years, 5 months ago

Thanks JLM-

Even though I tended to disagree with you on many issues leading up to the election. All of your above posts on this thread are absolutely right on. Obama was elected because a majority of the citizens in the US believed in his ability to lead our country. Now its up to him to follow up on that belief and make good on the trust our country has put in him. We elected him because we believe he CAN do a good job. Now its up to him to actually DO a good job.

You are also dead-on about Rahm Emmanuel. He's been described as "a cross between a hemorroid and a toothache" and that was by a fellow Democratic political strategist. And he's exactly what Obama needs in this role.

He's a tough SOB who can wade into political fights, throw punches and get his hands dirty leaving Obama free to be the leader of the Executive Office and say all the nice smiley things a leader is supposed to say. Leadership is about assembling a team and managing people. The presidency is no different and Emmanuel is smart choice. If Obama keeps making choices like that then he's off to a good start.


JLM 8 years, 5 months ago

BTW, it is a weird world out there. Did you know that Rahm Emanuel was a ballet dancer? The White House is going to be run by a ballet dancer. I know that RE will be good for BO for all the reasons we both have enunciated, but I am just tickled every time I think about the guy being a ballet dancer.

Of course, ballet dancers are very, very athletic. I saw Baryshnikov dance at his prime and he had a better vertical leap than Michael Jordan. Still, I cannot help but smile when I think of that tough little ballet dancer. LOL


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