A Bad Time to Run a Campaign

It is interesting to be in the middle of a high-tech event such as the {complink 2294|Google} acquisition of {complink 12925|Motorola Mobility Inc.} and then watch TV news (including the business channels). The Google-MM event did merit coverage, but it wasn't the lead story, as it would have been on EBN TV. It fell somewhere after the Iowa State Fair.

To be fair (pun intended), Iowa is the center of the political universe this week. But something struck me as I was watching President Obama balance on a pile of hay bales. With all the criticism of his management of the economy, shouldn't he be in the White House, as opposed to taking a three-day road trip across the Midwest?

It's a Catch-22 of American politics: Somewhere in the middle of your first presidential term, you have to start campaigning for re-election. Decision 2012 is well under way. Even though there is contention only for the Republican presidential nomination, the Democrats can't be seen as sitting back and not campaigning. And with the former Massachusetts governor and businessman Mitt Romney touting his management credentials, Obama has no choice but to respond.

The stock market managed to bounce back yesterday but is falling today. The alarm bells about the US credit rating seem to be subsiding (thanks Google!), but I fear this is only temporary. It is only a matter of time before some new crisis causes the stock market to flip and banners to start scrolling across every Web page.

I know it's the American Way, but watching the political maneuvering as the stock market tanks just seems silly to me. Does any candidate have the guts to step back and suspend campaigning while we tackle the immediate crisis? I know the answer is no — some of the candidates don't hold a political office and can spend all their time taking pot shots at the current administration. I can't say they are entirely undeserved, but responding to every utterance by a presidential wannabe just isn't a real good use of the chief executive's time right now.

The idea of another six months of this already wearies me beyond belief. I wish the president's political advisers would think outside the box and advise him to ignore the partisan slings and arrows for a while. Left to its own devices, the candidate pool will narrow itself through natural selection, anyway.

Or maybe {complink 3426|Microsoft Corp.} will come to the rescue. (See Why Microsoft Should Buy Nokia.) Anyone care to run a straw poll on a Microsoft-Nokia merger?

19 comments on “A Bad Time to Run a Campaign

  1. AnalyzeThis
    August 16, 2011

    Barbara, while I do agree with you, I'm actually a little surprised the Google/Motorola deal received as much TV news coverage as it did: yes, it's very interesting to us working in this industry, but what does the mainstream care if that search engine they use bought that cell phone company that sounds vaguely familiar?

    It's not the type of thing that's really going to rock the world of the average consumer, at least in my opinion.

    And as far as the Microsoft Nokia merger goes… don't think it's a good idea and I don't think it'll happen.

    Bill Gates 2012!

  2. Parser
    August 16, 2011

    If Bill Gates was a president in 2012 he would buy Nokia just to have at least one major company using mobile Windows. 

  3. Parser
    August 16, 2011

    During any crisis it is very easy to criticize president by creating theoretical statements. They always sound better than actual actions. In past most politicians after election could not do what they theorized during elections, but public is buying and it works for campaign. 

  4. Jay_Bond
    August 17, 2011

    Not only does the thought of campaigning right now seem trivial at best, we still have almost 15 months of this mudslinging to wade through. Personally I think there is way too much time and money put into political campaigns in the first place, with that being said I think right now our country has some serious issues to deal with rather than shaking people’s hands and giving speeches. Let's focus on the serious issues facing this country, and let your actions tell the story rather than speeches.

  5. Hawk
    August 17, 2011

    @DennisQ, Here are the odds: Bill Gates for president 2012? Zero. Microsoft buying Nokia? 40 percent. I'll wager first on Microsoft buying Nokia than on Bill Gates running for president. The political wranglings in the country would kill him!

  6. Hawk
    August 17, 2011

    @Parser, Why does it seem to make sense that Bill Gates would rather nudge Microsoft to buy Nokia than run for president? Perhaps because it just does! Buy Nokia to give Microsoft a chance in the nasty operating system war going on in wireless handsets? Yes. Run a brutal campaign for president and get skewered by ruffians on the way? No.

  7. Barbara Jorgensen
    August 17, 2011

    DennisQ–We do tend to have a bit of tunnel vision in this industry, but the WSJ hasn't let up on its Google-MM coverage–they have averaged 4 or 5 new stories per day–but maybe they are as tired of the campaign already as I am.

    High-profile businessmen have a poor track record in the US unfortunately–remember Ross Perot's run for president?! Thank goodness Donald Trump dropped out before the race even began…Bill Gates might get my vote, but how about a high-level cabinet position instead?

  8. Parser
    August 17, 2011

    @Hawk, I think Bill Gates may run for president and nudge Microsoft to buy Nokia. There is really nothing exclusive about these two. 

  9. Kunmi
    August 17, 2011

    The life time mission of Bill Gate may be what he has done in the Microsoft world. He does not need to put his neck into what can easily choke him up. Money is not everything but the level of dissatisfaction in this country is just a killer. If Microsoft choose to merge with Nokia….I will say “go for it” but not for the WHITE house.

  10. Kunmi
    August 17, 2011

    Parser, You are absolutely right. everyone is looking for candy president forgetting that life also has it good time and bad time. If a president had it nice like the experience of the early 90's, people will raise the tumb but otherwise, people will like to chew. Put the people that are criticising into the same shoe, they will be worse than an infidel. They hail the president when they are getting cool Aides and they shout 'crucify him' when they have to give out. What a misery of humanity!

  11. AnalyzeThis
    August 17, 2011

    … I was joking about Bill Gates running for president. Of COURSE that would never happen! And Barbara, you are right about the poor track record of businessmen running for president, which I guess does not bode well for Mitt Romney…

    The way things are going though, maybe the US Treasury may have to ask Bill Gates for a loan at some point? (This is also a joke… well, mostly…)

  12. SunitaT
    August 18, 2011

    The life time mission of Bill Gate may be what he has done in the Microsoft world.


      I dont think life time mission of Bill gates is what he has done in Microsoft, it is what he is doing through Melinda gates. He has inspired many billionaire to give away their wealth in charity. I think if he becomes US president he will concentrate more on Social issues and technology.

  13. Barbara Jorgensen
    August 18, 2011

    DQ–LOL (about the loan). Stranger things have happened, though…

  14. eemom
    August 18, 2011

    I know I am commenting late on this but I can't help but echo your sentiments in this story.  Our political landscape has gotten more and more embarrassing over time.  It seems that nothing gets done for the good of the country and the people.  There is political positioning and posturing for one's own good and political advancement.  How sad for the US and its economy.  It is no wonder we are in the economic state we are now.

  15. hwong
    August 19, 2011

    I read the Warrent Buffet article. I feel like that he is so altruistic to recommend to tax the riches. It's very rare that people are so considering for other poorer. I salute to him.

  16. eemom
    August 19, 2011

    The country has to generate revenue somehow.  I truly can't see how they would generate revenue without increasing some taxes.  Taxing the higher end of the economic scale makes sense, I have not heard another workable alternative.

  17. Barbara Jorgensen
    August 22, 2011

    I heard on the radio today the Fed has a Website set up to take donations toward reduction of the national debt. Maybe Buffett and Gates will just cut the government a check…however, it's not the private sector's job to get us out of debt and it reminds me of the saying: “Give a man a fish and he eats for today. Teach him to fish and he eats for the rest of his life.” Unless the government cuts costs, “donating” a billion here and there won't teach anything.

  18. Kunmi
    August 25, 2011

    @tirlapur , Thank you for enlightment with what Bill Gate is doing now in the Social World and with his motivational spirit. But for presidency, It is not that he can not handle it but the white house right now will not be a good idea. The current pressure may crash your good will. Many politians that we have today are there for the interest of few powerful hands and that is why every legislation is sitting on the possibility of being re-elected. Which means if you do not meet the goal of the big boss, you can be fired. Does that really conote that they are working for the entire country ???. I will rather suggest that Bill should just enjoy his life at this time and enjoy his money and his family. He has labored for his money and he should not because of being part of history of Unted States President venture to contest for presidency. He is know already globally and his name can never be forgotten except “Microsoft” is totally not in existence anymore.

  19. mario8a
    August 25, 2011

    What? Bill Gates for President?  I'll tell all my friends ( just kidding) is like Carlos Slim for President of Mexico?

    I guess in regards to Obama, there's no such thing as bad advertisment, regardless if is a good or bad timing for vacation, he's still on the media and everybody is talking about him…


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