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What Obama can learn from Captain Sullenberger

Welcome Instapundit Readers!! While you’re here, please check out two of my two recent posts on Bush’s Legacy: President Bush, the Surge, America & Second Chances and On Bush-Hatred and the Bush Legacy.

Last Thursday, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III, demonstrated an essential quality of leadership when he calmly reacted to an unexpected crisis in the plane he was piloting.  When his plane, US Airways flight 1549, hit a flock of geese, he had only few moments to decide how to react. Like Barack Obama in the fall campaign, Sullenberger was “cool, calm and collected” in a crisis.

The difference is that whereas the then-Illinois Senator didn’t change course, Sullenberger had no choice but to.  He acted and decisively so, ditching the plane in the Hudson, saving his passengers and crew. While many have praised Obama (and rightly so) for running a brilliant campaign, we often forget that it was not always so.  Were it not for the crisis (i.e., the financial one) he faced, the conventional wisdom might be that the Democratic nominee crumpled when facing the unexpected.

Recall how off balance he seemed in the weeks after John McCain tapped Sarah Palin to be his running mate, changing the dynamics of the campaign?  Had McCain not seemed even more off balance as the scope of the finanicial meltdown became manifest, we might more readily remember Obama’s floundering in the first weeks of the fall. Thanks to a generous assist from the MSM, Obama was able to counter the Palin pick which had so confounded his campaign.

But, on its own, the Obama campaign did not have the wherewithal to successfully challenge a selection which helped recast Republicans as reformers. To be sure, once he takes office, the new president is likely to continue receiving assists from the media.

Unlike a candidate, however, an executive must do more than give speeches; he must act.  It is a good thing to remain calm in a crisis.  And I’m reassured somewhat that Obama has that quality.  But, what Sullenberger’s success teaches us is that being cool and collected in a crisis is not enough.

In most crises, President Obama will not have to act immediately, to change course as quickly as did that noble pilot, but he will not to act. And he can only learn from our country’s newest hero.

Of Credit Card Debt and Economic Stimulus

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 6:25 pm - January 18, 2009.
Filed under: Economy,Random Thoughts

Should the Democrats’ “Titanic Stimulus” pass (as I expect it will), expect a short-term boost to the economy.

But, I fear the long-term consequences. It will not lead to economic recovery, only prolong our day of fiscal reckoning.

Here’s why. Imagine, if you will, an individual who has all but maxed out his credit cards. As he pays off the minimum balance due each month, he can barely afford anything but the bare necessities. He’s been peitioning the credit card companies to increase his credit line, but to no avail. Finally, one day, with a change in the management at those companies, they agree to his request.

With a new higher line of credit, he can start spending money again, so we see an increase in his “economic activity.” But, as he spends more, he adds to the debt he has already accumulated. He’s going to have to pay it off sometime. And when he does economic activity will slow down.

So, let’s hope our elected officials think about that as they consider a massive increase in the federal credit line at a moment when the federal government is already saddled with trillions of dollars in debt.

On Writing Fantasy Fiction

I have all these ideas related to the transition that I’d like to write about before the inauguration, thoughts on the outgoing president and his successor, yet my mind constantly wanders to other topics, my interests in world history, my love for the theater and cinema and my own proposed fantasy epic.

I’ve recently begun a pretty good fantasy novel, Terry Goodkind’s Wizard’s First Rule, the first book of his Sword of Truth series, which I’ve been trying to read while doing cardio. Though a good read, it has some of the flaws I find in much contemporary fantasy fiction.

He seems to be better than most as it appears (and note I say appears as I’ve only just begun it) he has an idea where he’s going with this story, having set up the main conflict which will define his “epic.”  All too many authors seems to just start writing, with the conflict emerging well into the story, thus compromising narrative flow*.

To be sure, when reading Tolkien’s The Return of the Shadow: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part One, I realized he didn’t have much idea where he was going when he first sat down to write a sequel to The Hobbit.  However, once he figured out where the story was headed, he totally revised the chapters penned before he had defined (given Tolkien’s ideas of creation, “discovered” might be a better word here) the quest and the conflict.

Would it that other fantasy fiction writers followed his lead. But, perhaps, the nature of the publishing business today makes that task difficult. Many writers seem to publish volumes in a particular series before completing the epic.

That may well be one reason I’m waiting to start writing mine (time constraints being another problem). I want to know how it ends before I start writing in earnest. I read somewhere that shortly after beginning writing the Harry Potter books, J.K. Rowling wrote out the last chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, what would become the last book in the series. That’s one reason, I believe, the story resonated so well with readers.