Monday, October 22, 2012

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are interviewing for the same job; who do you hire?

Have you ever been in a position to hire someone?

Over the years I’ve hired a lot of people, some I look back on with a smile, and some I look back on with a cringe, and a what the heck was I thinking.

We’ve recently had a few positions to fill, mostly due to promotions, so it’s a good thing.

A lot of you know John Berry, he was my online editor with the massive beard that seemed to be taking over his entire upper body. He was promoted to editor of a couple of papers in Connecticut. Ashley Campbell, recently named community engagement editor, was promoted to take John’s place.

So the newsroom shuffle resulted in an open entry level position.

Always a great opportunity. Every chance to hire someone should be taken seriously and entered into with eyes wide open.

There’s always that hire that turns out to be nothing like the person you interviewed.

Think about it. Someone trying to get their foot in the door of a company is going to put on their Sunday best and come prepared to dazzle.

When you’re the one doing the hiring, though, it’s your job to make sure you see through the spit and polish.

I’ve told people for years, if I have two candidates for the same position and one went to Harvard and the other went to Kutztown and the one from Harvard was completely arrogant and the one from Kutztown was down to earth and seemed like someone everyone in the newsroom would get along with, everything else being equal, I’d hire the kid from Kutztown.

Well, what would you do if one of the candidates already worked for you and was going up against someone from the outside?

Seems to me that kind of puts the person doing the hiring in the catbird seat now doesn’t it?

And that’s where we are today as we head into the final weeks before the presidential election.

One candidate has the job and wants to be rehired, and the other is coming in fresh, trying his best to make a good first impression.

While both candidates did indeed go to Harvard, I still have to hold true to my thought process on determining who would be the best candidate for the job.

We’ve had more than four years, counting the campaign leading to the last election, of President Obama telling us what we need, and the best way for us to get what we need.

I don’t know about you, but I just don’t think we’ve gotten anywhere near where he said he was going to get us, and I don’t think giving him four more years will get us any closer. I know he has that one month of unemployment dipping below eight percent to hang his hat on, but I don’t think anyone believes for a minute that the dip was a bellwether of great things to come.

And on top of it all, Obama seems to carry a little bit of arrogance with him as he tells us how and why and when we should be doing things to get ourselves back on the road to prosperity.

But at this point, I’m not even sure his own party is buying it.

While he does seem to be spending an inordinate amount of time hobnobbing with celebrities, he has at least attempted to accomplish some of his assigned duties, one of which is putting a budget up before Congress.

The problem is ... he couldn’t get anyone to vote for it. And I mean anyone. Not a single member of his own party would even give his proposal a vote of confidence, much less a vote on the floor, of either arm of our legislative body.

How is it possible that not one member of Congress saw fit to vote for his spending plan?

Perhaps it’s because he spends like a drunken sailor on leave? No offense to any drunken sailor anywhere by the way, because even drunken sailors only spend the money they have on them at the time. Obama is spending all the money he has on him, and all the money we have on us, too, and not just now, but all the money we might have on us in the future.

And I don’t know about you, but I haven’t heard much remorse in his voice during the past couple of debates about the fix he’s gotten us into. All I hear is about how much more we need to keep spending, and all of this coming on the heels of yet another company Obama gave millions to only to have them file for bankruptcy a short time after. First there was Solyndra, the solar panel company that received $535 million in loan guarantees, and then A123, a battery manufacturer that received $249.1 million. Since when did we authorize the federal government to go into the venture capital business?

So, we’re bringing the two candidates back in for their final interviews. Pay close attention. Both went to Harvard, but everything else here just doesn’t seem equal.

Which one do you hire?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Channeling David Byrne to explain Obama's poor performance in first debate

Have you ever had a moment when things just seem to come together? That moment when everything just crystallizes into one clear moment of realization?

I’m thinking that moment happened for about 61 million people on Oct. 3 after listening to our president ramble on about his health care plan, clearly trying with all his might not to use the term ‘death squad’.

At some point in the waning moments of the first presidential debate tens of millions of people had to have sat up razor straight and thought, “My God, what have we done?” And just to continue channeling David Byrne, the crystallizing moment most likely continued with, “How did we get here? This is not my country. This is not my Constitution.”

Mitt Romney stood tall at the debate. He was ready for his opponent, and clearly, without a Teleprompter close at hand, Obama wasn’t ready for Romney.

Certainly we can all understand how this country was swayed by Obama four years ago. He is a tall, good looking man with a gift for gathering an audience up in his hands.

But that was four years ago. All he had to do then was convince us that he was the better choice over George W. Bush.

Even the most polished pol among us would have to admit that really wasn’t a tall task.

Now, Obama is in the position of having to defend his record of the past four years, and without someone feeding him his lines, it is now crystal clear, he just doesn’t have the answers.

Four years ago we, and I mean we in the collective sense because I did not cast my lot with him, elected a man to the White House on a campaign of Hope and Change.

Since when did Hope become a campaign platform?

And where’s the change? Our economy is stuck in a rut, and four years later it really doesn’t matter how we got here. The fact is Obama launched a stimulus effort that did not work, and we’re billions of dollars in debt for the effort.

You know the left is desperate. They’re crowing about unemployment dipping below 8 percent. They don’t mention it’s for the first time since Obama took office. They also don’t mention that the number most likely dipped because people simply stopped looking for work and were dropped off the unemployment rolls.

It should now be abundantly clear to everyone that we need a president who knows how to steer clear of red ink. We need a business man at the helm, not a community organizer who convinced the majority of voters into casting a ballot for him on a promise of Hope and Change.

Obama didn’t deliver, it’s that simple, and yes, the blame lies solely on him. He surrounded himself with some of the dullest crystal he possibly could have; a treasury secretary who didn’t even bother to pay his own taxes? Timothy Geithner failed to pay some $35,000 in taxes, and while I admit that I wouldn’t have known I was responsible for paying them, I also was not the head of the New York Federal Reserve. Geithner blew off the whole issue as an oversight. Wow. Could you even imagine having a $35,000 oversight? We should also note here that Geithner was instrumental in the rescue of Bear Sterns, working alongside Bush’s Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Some experts also considered Geithner’s decision to not bail out Lehman a direct contributor to the worsening of the global economic crisis. And this just months before Obama decided he was the right many for the treasure secretary cabinet post.


Rahm Emanuel. Now here’s a guy that knows how to be a public servant. In fact, he’s made a career out of it. To take it a step further, he made a killing during his short term at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. Yes, that would be Freddie Mac. The very same Freddie Mac that was half the housing crisis. Emanuel, who earned more than $300,000 while doing what some describe as ‘nothing,’ was named to the board of in 2000 by then President Bill Clinton. This was after he left the Clinton administration as an adviser and took a position with an investment banking firm, where, despite any prior banking experience, made more than $16 million with the firm in his less than three-year stint there. Emanuel, apparently not one to stick with much of anything for long, left Obama’s cabinet after just two years and ran for mayor of Chicago, where he is firmly entrenched today.

Eric Holder, well, at least he was an attorney, and even an attorney general, before being appointed Attorney General.

I could spend an entire column, in fact I have, addressing the botched Fast and Furious ‘anti-gun smuggling operation that resulted in the death of a border patrol agent. Holder still needs to be held accountable to the American public for his actions during the operation and subsequent investigation. Unfortunately, Obama stepped in and declared executive privilege to protect him.

This is just a small handful of the people Obama appointed to be his trusted advisors when he took office.

Isn’t there a saying about surrounding yourself with the right people?

How could he have come to the conclusions necessary to choose these folks?

Of course, this is also the same president that pushed through a health care bill that forces Americans for the first time in the history of our great nation, to purchase a product.

“This is not my Constitution. My God, how did we get here?"

It’s all becoming very clear to me now.

Stan Huskey is the editor of The Times Herald. He can be reached at 610-272-2500 ext. 215 or at Follow @StanHuskey on Twitter.