Why is it so hard for a politician to tell it like it is?

Wednesday evening Curry passed back through town on his way from Hong Kong home to Los Angeles.  We had another pleasant dinner with him, this time going in search of really good pad thai, which we found at Pad Thai IMG_5737 Ari off Thanon Phayathai.  Kobfa’s stomping grounds, the Ari neighborhood would be my other choice of a place to live in the Big Mango besides the Thong Lo area.  Lots of activity on the streets – plenty of markets, vendors, and good restaurants to choose from.

Right: Chris, Tawn and Curry about to chow down on some serious pad thai.

We were a little shocked to learn that Curry is in fact many years older than he looks – like a good decade or dozen years older – and would like to figure out how to bottle his secret to youthful looks.  He says it is getting to bed early each night.  I’ll have to work on that, since I was up until 1:00 last night completing a project for work.

My work is interesting because the level of intensity varies greatly.  Some days it is a standard workday or even a little low-key and other days there is a big project to finish and there is no better way than just powering through it.  Thankfully, though, there is still time for dinner.


I’m still keeping myself on the outskirts of worry with regards to the 2008 US Presidential campaign.  But along the ways I’ve been trying to listen to what candidates in both the Republican and Democratic parties are having to say.  Right now I’m finding Rudy Giuliani and Barack Obama to be the most forthright of the serious candidates.

Not perfect, mind you, but forthright.  I think they speak less like politicians and more like people with independent minds and views.

Giuliani and Obama I like that Giuliani can stand in front of a Republican crowd and say that people of good faith can have different, but equally fervent, beliefs about issues such as a woman’s reproductive rights.  It takes guts to say that to a party crowd.

I like that Obama says that as President, he would engage so-called enemies in dialogue.  Hillary Clinton showed her true colors when she derided Obama for that statement; it looks clear to me that she wants to engage in the politics of fear, the same as Bush has done for six years.

The Associated Press reported that Obama said Wednesday that not all of the nation’s ills can be blamed on President Bush and the Republicans, calling on Americans to change the nature of politics.  “We can’t just change political parties and continue to do the same kind of things we’ve been doing.  We can’t just go about business as usual and think it’s going to turn out differently.”

It isn’t really rocket science, but in the field of candidates I don’t hear anyone speaking this commonsense truth.

Three ideas he has proposed to make government more accountable are also appealing:

  • All non-emergency bills would be posted online for five days before he, as President, signed them into law.  This would allow Americans a chance to weigh in on the legislation.  I know that legislation is available for viewing online through the Thomas database, but keeping track of all the changes and revisions as it goes through the legislative process is difficult.  It would be nice to have an easy way to view the final draft before it is signed.
  • Obama would also require his Cabinet officials to hold regular town-hall style meetings via broadband to discuss issues at their agencies with the nation.  This would make it be so much easier for Americans to be more informed of what is happening in the inner workings of their government.
  • Finally, Obama would have all meetings between lobbyists and government agencies posted online so there is a clear record of who is meeting whom. 

These sound like a breath of fresh air to me.

Oddly, after I wrote this entry I came across a Howard Fineman column on MSNBC.com from February, in which Fineman talks about how Giuliani and Obama mirror their respective parties’ opponents.


8 thoughts on “Why is it so hard for a politician to tell it like it is?

  1. Speaking as a New Yorker, I would move back to the Big Mango if Guiliani — the Samak Sundaravej of the US politics — was elected President.

  2. I like them both.. Unfortunately, Senator Clinton (D-New York) will likely be the next president…with politics as usual.
    Ongkun,  if Obama becomes a president, will you marry me?…lol

  3. Nicky et al, I would kindly ask for you to read/listen more about Hillary Clinton. There seems to be an assumption about her because we all think we know her.One thing to keep in mind is that candidates with less experience often sell themselves on being outsiders, promising reforms and changes. Some will go so far to please voters and, as a result, exaggerate the power of the presidency.If you look back at history, new presidents were often plugged into the same old system and later surprised to find themselves unable to execute most of those campaign promises. I don’t see anything “unfortunate” about having Hillary Clinton as a president. Obama and Edwards will probably be as equally effective.

  4. Elliot Spitzer did what he promised during his campaign to propose a law for gay marriage in NY State. Former Thai PM Taksin created free (30 Baht = $1) health care for every Thais and loans with little or no interests to poor Thai farmers. If Ellioit and Taksin can do it, Hillary, Obama, Edwards or Giuliani can overcome these evil and stubborn  system in DC.
    I agree with Nobita that I should not have said the word “unfortunately” for Senator Clinton (D-New York). I am sure she has  a will to change and overcome these barriers and she will definitely try to do it if she becomes a president.

  5. Nicky, I am going to respect christao’s space and will take my discussion with you somewhere else. But before that: 1) Spitzer RELUCTANTLY introduced the gay marriage bill because he expected correctly that the Republican-controlled New York State Senate would block it.http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/28/nyregion/28spitzer.html?ex=1335412800&en=56133aac965c7926&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss2) Thailand’s electoral system, based on the mix of British and German counterparts, allowed the government to have dictatorial majority with minimal checks and balances. Added that with his own ego, Thaksin could do whatever he wanted. And we all know how that ended.

  6. Chris,As we heard at the Democrats Abroad Thailand meeting recently, there’s lots we can do from here to have a voice “over there” in ’08. Let’s make it happen!

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