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What sort of relationship are you looking for?

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What sort of relationship are you looking for?

In today's (June 8) Washington Post, Harold Meyerson asks the highly relevant question, "How will history judge Obama's economic policy (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-will-history-judge-obamas-economic-policy/2011/06/07/AGK0JPLH_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions)  The future-tense question is relevant today because the economic swamp we are mired in today is a direct consequence of extraordinarily timid navigational skills by the captain at the helm of the ship of state.

Rather than soldier on into the thicket of what Obama could have at least attempted to do, be daring in the face of determined brigades of opponents whose only cause was to bring his presidency down, be daring enough to propose -- then try to sell the proposition -- the economic steps necessary to right again the ship, I want to go deeper. (Note there is a difference between "daring" and "reckless.")

I want to go to a much more consequent matter; a question: What is it exactly that Americans ought to want -- not what we seem to want, but what should we want -- from those we hire to do the jobs that must be done? The Representative Anthony Weiner scandal, the hue and cry that has been a conflagration as a product, Sarah Palin's better-than-any-Saturday-Night-Live-Tina-Fey skit about Paul Revere, and Lawrence O'Donnell's June 7 "Rewrite" segment (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/43319148#43319148) congealed in my mind as a perfect storm on the basic question posed.

Let's begin with a simple scenario. You've been diagnosed with a brain tumor that, if left untreated, will prove fatal, after it has first made of you a slobbering vegetable. The only chance you have is a highly risk-laden surgery to remove the tumor. What you're looking for in your surgeon is competency, not a squeaky clean life style. Do you truly care the least whether he or she is a philandering, lying heretic of a bully who Tweets lewd photographs? I didn't think so.

How about one more, this one drawn from the pages of American history? Lincoln was in despair. Save for just one general, his Union forces were losing battle after battle. The president wanted to promote Ulysses Grant, but was cautioned by his advisors that the man was a drunkard.   "Find out what he's drinking, and send a case to all my generals. He's the only one winning battles," was Abe's reply.

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Look, when it comes to those we hire, we shouldn't be pondering whether he or she would make a wonderful neighbor, perhaps someone we'd like to socialize with, become fast buddies with.

So many of the men we now look upon in awe, the men who framed the nation and others who saved it, were moral scoundrels. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy all had -- and-or kept -- sexual liaisons with women who were not their wives. Benjamin Franklin was well known as a scallywag while in Paris, while negotiating with the French crown for money and military assistance, money and military assistance that without it the argument can be made we never would have defeated the British. There are more counties, cities, towns, burgs, parks and streets and byways named after Andrew Jackson than any other president. Yet the seventh president kept house with his common law partner Rachel Robards, a woman who was married to Captain Lewis Robards at the time.

With clarity and dismay I recall one of the news media's prevailing questions that was asked of voters during the Bush-Gore 2000 presidential campaign: "Who would you rather have a beer with?" As much on any individual factor, votes went to George W. Bush because he was more "likeable." He was more "like us." A near-completely bumbling idiot, but one that was likeable.

Similarly today, far-right Christian evangelicals are lining up behind Michele -- "they [the founding fathers] worked tirelessly until slavery was no more" -- Bachmann because she "speaks our code, she's "one of us."

The question, perhaps the single most important one every American should ask of him- or herself is, what do you want in a leader; the individual to whom you will be entrusting the national checkbook and the keys to the nuclear arsenal? Review of Larry O'Donnell's "Rewrite" video is a good place to begin.    -- Ed Tubbs, Tenino, WA             
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An "Old Army Vet" and liberal, qua liberal, with a passion for open inquiry in a neverending quest for truth unpoisoned by religious superstitions. Per Voltaire: "He who can lead you to believe an absurdity can lead you to commit an atrocity."

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