You know how are academics can be. Always quibbling. Always critical, oh yes, so crrrrrritttttical. Dissecting. Questioning. Skeptical. – Fine, occupational hazard you might call it. Or more to the point, a pain in the a**.
So lets put the cards on the table. We like Obama. Period. This new American president is in a class of its own. A cut above. The skeptics would say he is just another politician. True. Many of his statements are broad, emotional, inconcrete. But it’s hard to say that one can’t enjoy listening in to his press conferences and, by and large, observing how is doing the job.
Today it was Chrysler. Impressive is the language. Obama knows of the ‘stakeholder theory of the firm’. He is such a smart guy. When he was asked in London after the G20 summit about the end of the ‘Washington Consensus’ – he so smartly turned the question into the one he really wanted to answer. We also liked his statement about where ‘he stands’: not on the side of the hedge funds and investors who refused to give Chrysler more help, but on the side of the other ‘stakeholders’ (yes), who depend on the company.
Now whether FIAT taking over is really the solution – we have to wait. Fiat to the world of cars is not what the pizza is to the world of food, as Europeans will know. We don’t know if things will turn to the better for Chrysler now. By the way, their cars are crapp. But it’s fascinating to see how Obama is navigating his way through this. It’s such a relief after 8 years of Bush to see someone at a press conference of the most influential nation in the world – who is actually a smart guy.
So where does this leave us? I think the lesson is ‘Leadership’. This is where Obama is really stellar. He is a young guy, all things considered. And being black, in America, puts him not in the natural circles in Washington. But he has clear ideas, and uncompromised or untainted thinking. He will get immersed in the dirty rationalities of the political game. But nonetheless let’s hope he will stay the course. The only fear here is that he might face the Kennedy fate. A bullet from the people who are paid to protect him (if we can believe Oliver Stone for a second). Mhhh.