Friday, December 16, 2005

What People Want

     One of the most frustrating things about having a new job and actually being busy at work is that I had gotten so used to being able to write blog posts at my leisure. Basically, I want to write an essay on every topic that strikes my fancy. Unfortunately, I just don't have an hour or two every day to do that anymore. So here are two mini-essays. First I want to welcome new readers from the Jewish Times, which has been kind enough to mirror some of my blog posts. Feel free to click on the "Comment Globally" button and join in the conversation! (Regular blog readers - don't bother looking - the button is not for you)

Is That a Dollar Coin in Your Pocket?
     I've always been a fan of the dollar coin. At least, I was a fan of the Susan B. Anthony coin and the Sacagawea coin. Neither is used much now, and you probably can't even get your hands on one unless you're getting change from a Post Office vending machine or you specifically ask for one at a bank. Actually, last December when I tried to get 10 Sacagawea coins from the bank as a gift, they didn't even have that many in stock. I walked away with Anthony coins instead.
     I first learned to appreciate coin money when I visited Israel for a month. Walking around in a foreign country where only half the people I saw spoke my language, I appreciated not having to dig out my wallet stuffed with cash and travelers checks ever time I wanted some falafel. But here in the US, people don't want them. Or do they? It's hard to tell when they don't even get a chance to have them in the first place. I went out of my way to get Sacagawea coins when they came out. But no store ever gave them to me as change. That's where I get all my money in denominations smaller than $20. Every store handed me wrinkly dollar bills, not shiny dollar coins. I ended up having to put a $20 bill in the stamp machine at the post office to buy $2 worth of stamps. When I did spend my dollar coins, golden or silver, everybody took them without a question. Everybody gave me the correct change. Cashiers didn't act like I had just gotten off the boat. The US Mint said demand just didn't exist for the coins. But if Congress really wanted to switch to the (cheaper and more durable) dollar coins, they would stop issuing the paper bills altogether.
     In 2007, the Mint is issuing "Presidential Coins", just like they're doing with the state quarters. Unless they start printing fewer bills, I predict you'll never actually see one in circulation.

You're Not Going to Be Happy in 2008
     The latest polls are showing that people think the Democratic and Republican nominees for President in 2008 will be Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani. I predict neither one will be on the ballot in November, as Prez or as VP. Hillary is no surprise. Right-wing pundits have pushed her towards this job since 1993. According to my law of politics, their "reporting" of her presidential ambitions has created reality. Giuliani isn't really surprising either, unless you remember what people thought of him on September 10, 2001. Clinton was 30 points ahead of another Democrat in the poll, but Rudy was a mere 8 points on top of John McCain, another man who won't be running for President in November (although I could see him running for VP).
     I'm not going to start a discussion of electoral votes or the order of the primaries or the fact that both Clinton and Giuliani hail from New York (at least now they do). The simple truth is that Clinton is too conservative for the Democratic primaries (yes, despite what Faux News tells you) and Giuliani is too liberal for the Republican primaries. It's a Christmas-time wishlist of an election slate. Clinton and Giuliani are so similar it would actually be a dull campaign, which is probably what 280 million Americans are hoping for.
     In a way it's a shame that the candidates Americans most want (in aggregate - I know you want someone else) they can't have. In 2004, nobody was particularly excited about John Kerry. The word most people used for him was his "electability". Not exactly someone who moves you. Personally, I would have loved to have seen Lieberman do well, although I never thought he had a prayer. I can't predict who will get the nominations in 2008. It would be pretty cool to see Clinton go up against Condoleeza Rice. That won't happen either, any more than we'll see a Michael Bloomberg v. Joe Lieberman race. Maybe Karl Rove will run, if he's not sent to jail. That would be exciting. Who do you think will get the party nods? Who do you want to get the party nods?


Sylvana said...

If Condoleeza were to run against a man, I would almost certainly vote for her. Of course if she was a huge of a dipshit as Bush, I would not.

If Condi and Hillary were to run against each other, I would vote for Hillary, but I would not be devastated if Condi won.

If Hillary ran against McCain, I would vote for Hillary. You know she was doing a huge part of running things when Bill was in office anyway, and I miss the 90s!! I would have possibly voted for McCain over Kerry, though. Well that was until I heard him say that we should trust Bush. Really knocked his points down with that.

If Lieberman were to run, my dad, the non-republican Republican says that he would vote for him. I think that I would too. He's funny and smart and is very mellow.

But who I REALLY want for president is Russ Feingold!! I have been a huge fan of his since he became the WI Senator in 1992. He's funny, very smart, down to earth, very articulate but still easy for the layman to understand, and he actually tries to understand things before he makes a decision on them. He was the only one smart enough to vote against the Patriot Act in 2001. And I have a sneaking suspicion that he could hold his own in an alley fight without any cheap shots.


Ben said...

In order to popularize a dollar coin, they need to do two things. Get rid of pennies and get rid of dollar bills. I know one unit bills and coins coexist peacefully in many currency systems, but here we need something drastic to shake us out of our complacency.

On the other hand, coins do seem to fall out of the pockets of some of my pants, and that would be even more unfortunate if it was full of dollar coins.

I decided to erase 2008 from my mind for at least another year.

sideshow bob said...

I'm crossing my finger for Christopher Walken vs. well, anyone really. I would've really liked to see him debate W...

Shannon said...

Not to promote my blog, but I've developed a better way for selecting the 2008 candidates.

But seriously, like Ben, I try not to think of 2008. I think it's too early for Obama. I was impressed last year at a talk given by Wesley Clark. I'd like to see someone like McCain on the republican ticket. But I'm really not impressed with anyone from either party.

Stormwind said...

I haven't a clue about who or even who I might like (though Hillary has more power if she stays where she is). But I do know what sort of qualities I would hope to see, including someone who can think beyond the next moment and consistently earned better than C's in college (taking courses in ethics, history, various polisci, cultures, etc). I want someone with convictions and principles, who will tell the truth and explain when actions aren't popular, who listens to advisors who disagree (encourages them even to state opposing opinions in private) and makes up her or his own mind with as many facts as are available in the time allowed- not someone who shapes the facts to fit or allows only the yes folks around. I want someone who knows what it might be like to lose a job and worry about paying the electric bill, someone who thinks the federal government has a role to play in a fair and equitable safety net, but who also feels that most real decisions about local issues are best made locally-- as well as someone who thinks business isn't a bad word. I want someone who understands world history and cultures and can regain our lost standing as a fair and thoughtful country whose opinions ought to hold weight- not as a bully who stomps over the rest of the world because we can and throws founding principles out the door when they get in the way. My wish list is longer..... and winds up being somewhat centrist... like me. Mostly I am in the 'not Bush or anyone like him', camp. ;-)