Musings on Sports, Politics and Life in general

A failure to communicate = a failure of leadership.

Paul Newman as Cool Hand Luke

One of my favorite movies is Cool Hand Luke. In the movie, Paul Newman plays the title character, a WWII hero turned petty criminal who refuses to accept that any man has authority over him unless he grants it. His nemesis is the prison warden (“Captain”) who is determined to break Luke’s spirit. During one memorable scene, after Luke’s capture from his first prison escape, “Captain” delivers the line

“What we got here is … failure to communicate”

Lately, I’ve been getting the feeling that Barack Obama would be excellent in the role of “Captain.” He certainly seems determined to break the spirit of the American people – and then blaming us for his failures. He scold us about the economy almost daily: “Well, you know, I inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression and…” Yes, Mr. President, we’re well aware of what your policies have done to the economy. You took 5% unemployment, sprinkled some of your pixie dust and


all the jobs disappeared. That pixie dust was mostly made of tripling the deficit, selling it by telling us that unemployment wouldn’t cross 8% – but without all of that extra debt, the economy would certainly tank. Fast forward 18 months to the mid-terms. Faced with a soul-crushing economy and an American people distrustful of your policies (not atypical for people who’ve been lied to), you took to blaming… not the message (something about cars and ditches) and not the messenger (because we’ve all been told what a terrific orator you are) but the American people (because we’re too stupid and too busy clinging to guns and religion to understand how good we have it). Then you seemed dumbfounded when your party and their crazy ideals of “spreading the wealth around” got chucked out on their butt.

“What we got here is … failure to communicate”

Fast forward another 8 months and once again, we’re being assaulted by daily pronouncements from the Annointed One. This time, the debt ceiling has been reached. After weeks of having our senses assaulted by your minions telling us the sky will fall come August 2nd, we’re nearly at the appointed day and time. Never mind that this sort of thing generally gets hammered out in the underground corridors of the Capitol; you had to create a crisis. The reason? Apparently to lecture us idiots on the necessity for higher taxes and more spreading the wealth around, only this time couched as “sharing the pain.” Only this time, not even the denizens of your own party are believing that straw man any longer. Every American you talk to is pretty certain that the economy can’t get much worse, but the one thing we can do to ensure that it does is listen to your proscriptions. I guess the TV performance last night was meant to scare the US populace into adopting a plan that nobody has written down anywhere (one heavy on your usual bromides), instead of allowing the House and Senate to haggle out the differences in their resolutions.

Yep, Mr. President, I’m certain that come August 3rd, you’ll be out there blaming us poor, ignorant, ordinary folk for not understanding why you’re the best thing to come down the pike since sliced bread. I’m certain you’ll be comparing your role in the debt crisis with that of Leonidas of Sparta. (You know, valiant last stands no matter the personal cost, blah, blah, blah). In reality, all this episode has proven again is that you can’t lead from behind. Oh, and that for all of your awesome rhetorical abilities…

“What we got here is … failure to communicate”

King Leonidas

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