Senator Obama speaking in Dayton today: Say something off your script

When I watched the debate on Tuesday night I could almost predict- line for line, word for word, what was going to come out of both candidates mouths. Even though the candidates were speaking extemporaneously, it was as if marketing has taken over and the brand message gets repeated over and over until we all “just do it” automatically.

And while Senator Obama is an accomplished orator, I’ve yet to hear anything approaching a “I have a dream” speech. In fact, when I went to see him at the Nutter Center back in February, the speech just rolled out like an audio technician had hit the play button. He’ll be at 5/3rd field today, and giving another one, just like the one he’s going to give in Cincinnati a few hours later.

Sure, good speeches are hard to write, and yes, they do localize the speech a bit for each community, but- just once, I want to hear something off script. Not off message- off script. Like when Sean Penn just drops into a role and just ad libs lines and they make it in the movie.

I know that candidates are real people, just like you and me, being asked to be held to a higher standard than anyone of us could reasonably follow. I know that it’s dangerous to go off script, but, I’ve done it when I was campaigning (maybe that explains why I don’t get elected) and the response has been good.

Things to talk about in Dayton:

Wouldn’t it be great if the electric utility CEO (DP&L CEO and President Paul Barbas) admitted that it’s not that complicated running a monopoly, and instead of trying to charge the people for upgrades to a smart grid– he was going to cut his pay to no more than 10x the lowest paid employee in the company and stop spending money on advertising and instead spend it on improving customer service?

How we used to have two independent newspapers, that would compete for readers and breaking stories- which gave you confidence that you weren’t being manipulated by a single all powerful media source? And, how do we bring that kind of competitiveness back?

How Dayton and Wilmington are suffering from the actions of companies “too big to fail”- GM, DHL, pulling out of the market, costing thousands of good paying jobs and hurting all of us- and how this bailout seems to be consolidating power more than sharing it- and how that concerns me, and should concern you.

While your neighbors are losing their homes, the banks are still charging 29% interest on credit cards, so that they can get involved in questionable investment practices, pay their people exorbitant salaries, and then beg you to bail them out with your tax dollars? I’d point out that before deregulation, banks were limited to much lower caps, and weren’t allowed to issue so many credit cards. It’s time to end the casino on Wall Street- and stop thinking that a casino monopoly in Wilmington is a good idea either. We’ve been gambling too much in this country, and if we continue on this same path, we could very well lose everything. When Budweiser isn’t owned by Americans anymore, that should be a wake up a call that even Joe Six Pack understands.

On my travels of the world, meeting with other world leaders, that I know that people far away think of Dayton in a way that people in Dayton don’t realize: it’s the place where the peace talks were held, that helped stop a war over ethnic battles that have gone on for too long, for no good reason. And, if we could do that Dayton magic again- we could possibly see peace the world over, because, like it or not- we’re all on this planet together. It is something the people of Dayton should be proud of.

And, it’s in that same spirit- that we should look at joining together, cities and suburbs, to look for new ways to govern- that bring smart growth, and efficient government to the region, and then to the State level and finally to Washington- because, throughout history, people from Dayton have been innovative thinkers and brought change to this world- the same kind of change that this young, bi-racial, single parent raised, Honolulu born Senator hopes to bring to the world. A world where….

I have a dream….

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9 Responses

  1. Chris Feldhaus October 9, 2008 / 7:39 pm
    How exactly would the government prevent Budweiser from being bought by a foreign company? If I own a tech start-up, and the highest bidder for my technology is from Belgium rather than Microsoft or whoever, should the government step in and force me to take the lower offer?

    Wouldn’t other governments then act in turn? If a really awesome technology is developed in say Malaysia, and say GM wants to buy it to improve their vehicles, should Malaysia prevent us from doing that?

    Just some hypotheticals I wonder about with this plan.

    You often mention this plan to make Wall Street less like a casino, making people hold stocks for a certain period of time; is there some sort of scholarship on this? What I mean is, is this an idea of yours or is it adapted from some other source? I don’t know a lot about economics issues, but I feel like it might have a whole lot of negative consequences that do more harm than good (such as prices/values being completely impossible to determine). Just wondering. It seems like rather than tear down an entire system it’d just be easier to raise taxes and skim money off for social programs. Not that I’d support that either, but it just seems a lot less disruptive.

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  2. David Esrati October 9, 2008 / 8:10 pm

    Hi Chris,
    Good questions- it’s not that the government would prevent Bud being bought- but, our trade imbalances have put a lot of dollars in foreign hands, and now, they are coming in and buying up America. It’s a problem when your money is devalued (by massive infusions of cash by the fed) and poor economic policy- that has rewarded companies for cutting costs by outsourcing cheaper labor, combined with ridiculous costs for health care, and allowing companies to put execs before the shareholders.
    I’m sure the one year hold isn’t original to me, however, I didn’t read about it anywhere else- other than manipulations by the Government on capital gains taxes. Under the deregulated economy we’ve had, all penalties for quick turns of stock went away when the capital gains tax was cut.
    Used to be, you had to hold onto an asset for a number of years to count it as capital gains, instead of ordinary income, which was taxed at a higher rate.
    The change, made it more profitable to “invest” and then “sell” quick, and do it over and over- as opposed to a strategy of long term holdings. There will be a lot of companies suffering from de-capitalization from the stock plunge of the last 2 weeks. Bill Gates became the third richest man because of it- Warren Buffet moved up to number one.
    Would you let your small business have people invest for an hour- and then take their money away at will? Probably not- same thing scales up. The focus on quarterly profits and projections has forced American companies to have very short planning horizons- this isn’t a good thing.
    Prices of companies would be easier to determine with long term investors, because you just have to look at the P&L and balance sheet- and then divide the company up by number of shares. You’d buy stock because Apple has a better operating system, or Google a better business model, not because you think it’s going to go up today and down tomorrow because of mass movements by institutional investors.

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  3. Jeff October 9, 2008 / 8:54 pm
    David, your new hero did a great intro to Sarah Palins speech tonight in Wilmington, as reported by the DDN:

    “U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Centerville, took the stage repeatedly to rile up the crowd and lend support to Palin, promising that when she arrived she would have “a great big entrance.”

    “It was a little more than a month ago that Sen. McCain chose to come to Southwest Ohio to announce Gov. Palin as his running mate, and we were all so excited,” Turner said. “Now we’re very lucky to be welcoming her again.”

    Videos playing on a screen talked about Palin’s upbringing and political career and McCain’s history as a reformer. The videos repeatedly used the word “maverick” to describe both McCain and Palin.

    Turner also used the word and said the two would support drilling for oil and bringing energy independence.”

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  4. greg hunter October 10, 2008 / 1:38 am
    I have an axe to grind (& a guillotine :)), but Turner and hero does not and should not compute.

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  5. Chris Feldhaus October 10, 2008 / 7:29 am
    OK, I see what you’re saying, but it still seems like a bad situation. Say I invest in a biotech firm, which is trying to develop a new drug to fight some disease. It seems promising, and I invest a ton of money. But say at month 11 it gets out that the FDA is considering rejecting the drug for trials due to some side-effect. Am I therefore prevented from divesting myself? I feel like a lot of people would lose a lot of money under this plan.

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  6. David Esrati October 10, 2008 / 7:45 am

    @chris- that’s the “risk” that you are supposed to take in order to get rewards. If you’ve researched a company well, and know that they are run competently, and have a good business model, you would get a good return, if they are trying to make some new drug that can cure AIDs for half the cost of other drugs that only put it in submission- then your upside is HUGE. That’s investing.
    The ones who take big risks- get the big returns. Right now, the only people getting the big returns are CEOs who take no risk at all- they get paid, they do bad- they get paid- that’s who takes your money.

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  7. TeresaLea October 10, 2008 / 11:00 am
    -off topic –

    Jeff, the link to your blog is mixed up – just FYI.

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  8. pizzabill October 10, 2008 / 1:47 pm
    As reported by Fox News- Fair and Balanced:

    Apparently, when Obama came through town yesterday he stopped to talk to some locals at convenience store and, after buying some mints and being offered his change, told the clerk to keep it saying “I don’t want change.”!!!

    Just another reversal by a big time American politician.

    (ripped off from Mad TV last week)

    LOL (David, is this the correct email-eese for a funny?)

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  9. Jeff October 10, 2008 / 3:14 pm
    “I have an axe to grind (& a guillotine :)), but Turner and hero does not and should not compute.”

    It was an sarcastic reference to Dave’s saying he “might” vote for Turner. But you have to get a kick out of Turner introducing the mavericky reformer Palin when he’s Mr. Earmark.

    Yet I can see why Turner’d love more oil drilling since he’s a wholly owned subsidiary of the local land development community, who’s preferred development style is urban sprawl, not sustainability.

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