| Politics

Obama Bold

by Robert Capozzi

Barack Obama seems to assume to be "bold" is what works to solve challenges. He uses the word "bold" an awful lot. Let's test the premise.

Bold would seem to suggest a certain audacity, something not quite "radical," but a marked shift in direction. But boldness can take many forms, including an irresponsible and rash one.

He seems to believe that history bears the "bold response" out. For instance, FDR was "bold" when coming into office, amplifying the marked trajectory of government-spending increases started by Herbert Hoover. Is that "bold"? Could be, as "bold" is a highly subjective term. Did it work? One only need to look at unemployment rates until the US entry into WWII to conclude that it did not work.

Perhaps the Red Scare is another page to take from history. JFK's response was to send a man to the moon. Certainly bold. Not obviously effective, however. The space program could easily be viewed as a tremendous boondoogle that yielded little -- microwave ovens and Tang seem benign enough, but couldn't they've been invented in a more direct manner?

LBJ's Great Society was "bold," but it did little to decrease the percentage of the population in poverty. Indeed, it may well have trapped people there, breeding dependency and despondency.

Boldness sounds good. It excites people. Pragmatic peaceful moderation seems to bore people, not feeling "activist" enough.

Odd. Pouring gas on a fire seems bold, too, and yet contra-indicated.