David Hamilton


This conversation is closed.

Both of these guys, got into Harvard Law?

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have been campaigning for at least a year now... What new ideas have they come up with?

Seriously, what single policy, that either of them have, has evolved, or changed in the last year? Have neither of them had a single creative idea?... In a whole year?

Is this how you get into a good college, by never formulating new ideas? Aren't they supposed to let smart people into good universities? Shouldn't they have a new idea every week or so?

Are our leaders mentally handicapped? Almost every human being I know has tried a new weird political idea out on me in the last year. Why haven't Barack Obama or Mitt Romney?

Well... Obviously neither one of them is very smart... Have we got anyone else?

  • thumb
    Sep 10 2012: Hello David,

    As always, you know how to spark a heated debate (and hey, I meant that as a compliment).

    There is an assumption in your question that i find hard to buy into, and that is the assumption that Harvard Law School graduates (and any smart lawyer in general) should come up with new ideas. Look around your desk (or your kitchen table, or your bedroom) and name one single thing that has come about thanks to a new idea proposed by any lawyer.

    Politicians in general are not creators, but decision makers, and the decisions presented to them are usually put forward by lobbyists not by the public in general.

    I think they are both smart, but smart in a political sense, which is mainly smart as a sales men. they both talk nice and fun and have a very clear understanding on who their sponsors are.

    And thanks to the human nature, which has changed very little in the past hundred thousand years, politicians know that people decide (and vote) based on their emotions and seldom based on reasoning, and they also know from experience that a good salesman (with good histrionic abilities) given enough air time (advertising) can sell the most useless crap to vasts numbers of people.

    I think that rather than asking the two presidential candidates to become more creative and smart, we should probably promote a culture of inoculation to alleviate the human bias of deciding with emotions, and we should also request more air time to real proposal presentation and access to supporting facts, than the air time dedicated to sale us a new president

    my two cents

    • thumb
      Sep 10 2012: Very well put Andres, and thank you for the compliment... I often worry that I phrase my ideas in such extreme language, that they can be frustrating to respond to, so I appreciate when people take the effort.

      I guess, my only response, is that in my own strange, and eccentric voice I mean to "promote a culture of innoculation to alleviate the human bias of deciding with emotions". I want us to expect more out of the two of them... So next time, maybe we'll get a bit more.
  • thumb

    Gail .

    • +3
    Sep 12 2012: A degree from Harvard is not much different from a degree from any other school in that they are certificates of proficiency in the mind-set of the field of study. But that certificate of proficiency is skewed against creative thinking and expanded as well as continued learning. ( http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_changing_education_paradigms.html ). It also exists to support the status quo.

    EXAMPLE: All first year law school students learn about the infamous supreme court decision, McCulloch v. Maryland. The decision is documentary evidence of a coup d'etat of the Constitutional government by monied interests who found the Bill of Rights so offensive that they wanted them thrown out, and who believed that the common people, not being angels, needed to be governed (by the wealthy).

    If you were to go to the government web sites that talk about our history, you will not find the anti-federalist papers mentioned, even though the anti-federalist papers (and speeches) were successful at rejecting the proposed constitution unless a Bill of Rights was added to it. Nor will you be forwarded to links from the Avalon Project that show that the Constitution was conditionally ratified by VA, NY, MA, NH, CT, & RI. Nowhere will you find a history of the concept of Judicial Review that the Supreme Court ASSUMED, because it marks the very first time in western civilization that a court assumed the role that it has today - to overturn government's laws or establish law by decree.

    To get a degree, you have to agree (on tests) with those giving them. To become president, you have to lie to everyone so that you can get bribes (campaign donations).

    Both Obama and Romney know about Marbury v. Madison and Mc Culloch v. Maryland. They know that when they say "constitution", you think they refer to the written one. But they know that they refer to the unwritten one - British Common Law - a body of judicial precidents and laws.

    They're both snakes in the grass.
  • thumb
    Sep 11 2012: A worthy goal, David. Just remember you can't wake someone who is pretending to be asleep...
    • thumb
      Sep 12 2012: I find sharp acute pain tends to work wonders... If only I can make my writing style the rough equivalent : )
  • thumb
    Sep 11 2012: On the contrary, Obama is a master communicator. He understands his audiences he addresses extremely well.

    Like the AMA on Reddit, that was a really good move to appeal to young adults.
    • thumb
      Sep 11 2012: Young adults who he's bankrupting... The problem is, in order to be a master communicator, you have to have a message, worth communicating. We gained 5 trillion dollars in debt during his administration.

      The military can now murder US citizens with drones, on US soil, provided it can first brand them "enemy combatants", without seeing a judge. We no longer have a bill of rights. Bradley Manning is still in jail. We are trying to extract Julian Assange. Medicare, is 20 trillion dollars under funded, and the baby boomers are about to retire. Gitmo, still open. Patriot Act? Expanded.

      The fact that Mitt Romney supports all these same policies does not give Obama a pass. We are in a state of national emergency, and our economy is collapsing... Both Obama, and Romney have promised not to raise taxes on the middle class, thus they have both promised to preside over the collapse of the American dollar... It's really that simple.

      No one is effectively communicating to the American people what they need to do about these problems.
  • thumb
    Sep 11 2012: Harvard School of Status Quo. We simply need to create an enviornment where ideas are allowed to flourish. All the BS about equality and political correctness is a direct threat to innovation and creative thinking.

  • thumb
    Sep 10 2012: Good question David, except when you realize that getting a degree is more about 'ritualized obedience' as Jay Baldwin says than about creativity, why should anyone expect any different? Higher education breeds creativity out... not in....Wake up and see the ruts of conventional thinking...everywhere...
    • thumb
      Sep 11 2012: Or maybe... I'm just trying to help that discussion along, and make more people aware.
  • thumb
    Sep 10 2012: As I watched the conventions I saw on both sides a stage full of millionaires that say they care about the very poorest. I am not sure what they think about the middle class. I have heard middle class from both but have not seen anything that proves they care.

    I do not think it is the people running I think it is the system and the "great con" to get into office.

    So here is my plan that would be fair: If you are in office you run off of your record for the last four years.
    If you are a challanger you get to submit a plan for what is wrong and how to improve it.

    I see a crush of politicing in the "swing states". We will hear about deminishing health care for the elderly on one side and free health care for the illegals on the other siide. The election has came down to who carries the swing states. It is a shame that the economy, health, and jobs will not be the deciding factors.

    Many years ago Barry Goldwater attacked the issues and scared the voters to death. John Kennedy let him state the issues and after the elections he went to work on many of the very same issues knowing that Goldwater was correct. The point being that the public does not want to hear the facts. They want to know what is in it for them. The latinos do not care that what the president wants to do is against the Constitution. They do not care that the programs will cost both the federal and state governments trillions that we do not have is not their problem. He is addressing their needs and that is good enough.

    Years ago we sat around the cafe and barber shops and discussed issues not parties. There is little of that occuring now. People have accepted that government is currupt and it is beyond them to correct. We have no education process to inform school kids about government. We teach dates in history. Not policy and issues.

    You are right we have problems. They do not have to be smart .. just know how to play the game.

    All the best. Bob.
    • thumb
      Sep 10 2012: If we knew how to play the game... They would have to be smarter... Very well put though.
  • thumb
    Sep 10 2012: "I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people . . but to make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or, if they try, they will shortly be out of office." Milton Friedman

    Politics is nothing but the reflection of the people . . After all, It was the people who turned the clown, from Alaska, into a political heavyweight .
    • thumb
      Sep 10 2012: Well then... We need some people to turn these gentlemen from heavyweights, into clowns : )
  • l aresu

    • +1
    Sep 10 2012: in order to win an election in a democratic competition (assuming that something like this actually exists, and honestly i'm not that persuaded), you must convince the majority of the society you belong to that your vision to lead this society is the best possible, or better than the other that are at stake, hence the ideas you promote must be appealing to the electors who should buy your proposal. running such a complex thing like a modern society where members have to trust you, implicates that you have to be plausible and believable. if you're too radical/original it's really hard to convince the majority you need that what you've in mind will actually work, or to do it you should be a real top seller (forgive me if i use this metaphor, it's not the way i think politics should be, but in my country we've had a top seller selling himself in such an incredibly seductive manner that even if he produced exactly nothing in 20 years, he was and still is acclaimed like if he were a messiah). one can have the most incredible ideas about politics and solutions to solve problems we live with, but even given that these ideas work, the real job is to convince the others that they will.
  • thumb
    Sep 10 2012: politics is not about ideas, nor about solutions, quality of decisions, honesty, expertise. politics is about serving people's wants. more precisely, getting votes. if being creative gets votes, they will be creative.
    • thumb
      Sep 10 2012: If being destructive continues to get votes... We'll continue down this road.
  • thumb
    Sep 10 2012: I'm not knocking your country or how it governs itself,that's up to you guys to decide but when the current President came to power,i thought is this just political maneuvering on the parties side? a checkmate via a rook move? I wasn't following the process so it was quite a shock but at the forefront of my mind was,"This is such a bad time to elect a black guy,what the hell can he do or anyone in one term in office,it's a three term problem, they should have elected Palin then him"

    I'm not racist but his colour to me, was used in the game,i like his voice though but even i knew it wouldn't be enough,too much was expected of him,probably an unrealistic expectation,one man can't carry the world.
    • thumb
      Sep 10 2012: All he had to do was what he said. Fight for a public option, and likely lose. Veto the patriot act, and the ndaa, and pull us out of both pointless wars, closing gitmo... If he had simply tried to let the US have a constitiution, this election would be in the bag, and he could be going after the drug war this term.

      The idea that this is too much to ask for is beyond me... These aren't revolutionairy programs.
  • Sep 10 2012: For both political conventions, I watched the same part of the TV coverage, when the reporters asked the delegates what they wanted to hear from the candidate. The delegates never mentioned the words 'creative' or 'creativity'.

    During the campaign, the politicians say what they think the people want to hear, and it has nothing to do with creativity. The basic problem with democracy today is the same as it has always been, the people.
    • thumb
      Sep 10 2012: I could not have put it any better .
  • thumb
    Sep 9 2012: You have no way of guessing how many wierd ideas either one has, as politicians are much more careful than you are about who gets to hear their wierdest ideas.

    Beyond this I am reminded of a lament in an article I read that the smartest and most creative people (he was thinking mostly of your generation and a little older) were applying their ingenuity to how to market stuff and manipulate people to click on links.

    We are continuously bombarded with the results of a combination of people's tried-and-true and novel marketing ideas for swinging benefits in their own favor.

    Law schools may favor those who are excellent convergent thinkers as a first priority and divergent thinking only secondarily. Beyond this, intelligence and creative thinking are not as closely correlated as people may think.
    • thumb
      Sep 10 2012: Okay... Neither one of them, has come up with a single weird idea, which has lived up to party scrutiny in at least one year. I still suggest that this shows obvious incompetence. If I went this long without a creative idea my party supported, i would leave the party, or check my pulse to insure that I was not catatonic.
      • thumb
        Sep 10 2012: I don't think that failure to come up with a weird idea you can get lots of people to accept by itself signifies incompetence. The business of politics and government involves lots of compromise, and some see themselves in any case more as managers of a team than inventors.

        You are not in their line of work. Most of us would not choose their line of work. They have and made that choice with a pretty good understanding, I think, of what was involved.

        What's more, if you just quit you lose any real chance of making a difference. Sitting on the sidelines checking their pulses and complaining about what others are doing would probably be less satisfying to them than continuing to try to make a difference.

        Different strokes for different folks.
        • thumb
          Sep 10 2012: They aren't trying to make a difference, that is my whole point... The idea doesn't have to be weird, it just has to be new, because the old ideas aren't working.

          You are basically trying to tell me that leadership, of the most powerful nation on the planet, should have nothing to do with creative problem solving... I refuse to accept that.

          If they were trying to make a difference, ie generating creative solutions to problems, and bringing them before congress, and the people to vote, they would not be obviously, and preposterously incompetent... However, when auditioning for the most powerful leadership position in the world, I would expect someone to generate at least one creative idea that his party can support every year or so... Otherwise what to we pay them for? To look pretty?

          Every human being I have every met, has more creative ideas to solve our problems than either of these gentlemen... I suggest a write in vote "Random Homeless Guy 2012"
      • thumb
        Sep 10 2012: I am not basically trying to say that leadership should have nothing to do with creative problem-solving.I am saying only that a team effort is involved when there are complex problems at hand, and different leaders bring different strengths to the table.

        You are free to believe, of course, that these people are not trying to make a difference, but I am certain you are wrong. When they describe what difference they are aiming to make, I do not think it is only charade.

        You may believe that every human being you have ever met has more creative and practical solutions to offer than either of these gentlemen, but let's just say that sounds like a bit of exaggeration to me.

        I do not like either one either, but I would suspect I would not prefer for the nation's future to be in the hands of any of your random associates.
        • thumb
          Sep 10 2012: I'm pointing out the very specific fact that neither person has had a creative solution to a problem, in the last year... That is unacceptable behavior in a leader.

          To try and solve problems requires that when one solution fails, or fails to gain support, you come up with new ideas... So there is no evidence that either one, is making any effort to solve any problems. You talk about compromise as if it is something you have observed, again, I don't see any evidence of this.
      • thumb
        Sep 10 2012: I believe you are mistaken that neither makes an effort to solve problems. I think this is just a case of seeing other people's motivations and quality of effort with a negative bias.

        Again, you are entitled to your suspicions. I will leave you with them.
        • thumb
          Sep 10 2012: That is much easier than explaining to me a single policy position either candidate for president has evolved on in the last year. I don't talk about their motivation, simply their productivity and their ability to generate solutions to problems. If this is them trying... They are in competent.
  • Oct 9 2012: David, why are you assuming some new radical idea would make things better? Sure, I'd like to see a world leader call for a resource based economy and legalization of weed, but the former is unrealistic at the moment and the latter is not even an original idea. I don't expect anyone to have a completely original, and good, idea "every week or so", not even Einstein fit that bill...

    Both Obama and Romney are no geniuses but they are not dumb either. There are no doubt people out there who are better qualifief, but even they wouldn't have wonderful new ideas every other week.

    Regarding their educations, it may be Harvard but it's still law (learning to win arguments with fallacies), which has a huge reputation in overall society, but whose students are the laughing stock at universities all over the world (both in and outside of the US the girls are seen as easy and shallow, the boys as pretty boy jocks/airheads, both are seen as being in it for the money, which is often true). Anyone with average IQ can get a law degree, even at Harvard, if they wen to good primary and secondary schools, work hard enough and are taken care of financially (in fact the majority of the population has the capacity to get a university degree in something). Even Rick Santorum holds a J.D. (not from Harvard, but still).
    • thumb
      Oct 9 2012: I'm not assuming a new radical idea every few weeks would make things better... but, if I had platforms which were obviously failing me, both politically, and in the way they effect my community... I would change part of that platform from time to time.

      When starting from positions so backwards and incompetent, one would expect them to occasionally evolve. Surely, if they were smart human beings, with rational plans to solve problems right now... I would not expect them to have new ideas next week.
  • thumb
    Sep 12 2012: Are you familiar with the terms 'figure head' or 'puppet?' They only speak what they are told to speak. They deliver the rhetoric they are told to and then they get accused of 'waffling' They are not paid to think.

    my two cents
  • thumb
    Sep 11 2012: @ craig............Amen
  • thumb
    Sep 10 2012: Political rhetoric i suppose,they all do it,everything is choreographed,turn and slowly look at the audience,wait 3 secs,smile,prompt cue:begin next paragraph,pause.........well managed,Mitt Romney looks terribly managed.
  • thumb
    Sep 10 2012: Well, I had to do a little searching to fit your criteria of this last year. The President has spent most of his time trying to implement the innovative ideas he initially came to office with. I can see you arguing that targeting small business job creation for tax breaks isn't that innovative(even if you agree it's a good idea). The Veterans job corps- an idea to help credential veterans technical training to allow them to enter the civilian workforce, is a real innovation from this year. It's not paradigm shifting but we've seen what happens to those kind of initiatives. The Affordable Care Act was a big innovation that was politically vulnerable primarily because it was big. Most Americans like the individual parts but don't like "Obamacare". Government generally, and democracies specifically, are better at incremental change. What type of "new weird political" idea are you ready to bet the farm on?
    • thumb
      Sep 10 2012: Solar concentrating desalination.

      Selling the mohave national preserve to solar investors.

      Ending the patriot act and the NDAA.

      Ending the drug war.

      Ending the cap on social security, and medicare contribution for rich people.

      Original copyright laws.

      Closing overseas millitary bases.

      An online public school system K-University.

      Placing government salaries on the same level as salaries at not for profit corporations. In other words, making people who work for the government public servants rather than middle class.

      Reducing management.

      Releasing the NASA and CIA patents denied under the Bush Administration for national security reasons.

      Legallize hemp.

      End oil subsidies.

      End corn subsidies.

      Make it illegal for the Fed to give 0% interest loans to major corporations, without telling the government.
    • thumb
      Sep 10 2012: I'll give the POTUS credit for the veterans bill actually, I think that was this year. Not paradigm shifting, but it was good news. Now if only he could do something about the fact that one of his soldiers kills themself every day.
  • thumb
    Sep 10 2012: Way to fall into the delusion presidents do anything of any real significance...

    How about bickering about your senator? I would imagine that your local chamber of commerce does more for you directly than the president.

    Democracy doesn't exist when we are concerned what one of our leaders are doing... It exist when our leaders are concerned with what we do as the people.

    Politics today means gossiping about politicians - and - the politics politicians deal with is worrying about the money flow, while casually entertaining the masses.

    Oh and Ron Paul may be extremely liberal and just flat out crazy, but he isn't a billboard for major corporations. Which is why he is entirely under-covered via media, he isn't going to help out any of the businesses which really control this country.

    And this 'freedom' you may have to bash these candidates, also an illusion...
    • thumb
      Sep 10 2012: Politics today is about murder. I am against murder, so I think Barack Obama, and Mitt Romney, are both useless and evil human beings. Nothing done to me at the local level bothers me anywhere near as much as the national government stealing my money at the point of a gun, and using it to murder people indescriminately.

      Presidents set the war agenda. Ron Paul, was the only person who didn't want to murder people with my money. Gary Johnson now represents that voice... I will not pay attention to either major party candidate, I will continue to describe them both as morons, who want to murder people, with my money.
      • thumb
        Sep 10 2012: You are missing my point entirely...

        First off, again, a president doesn't make the call to go to war unless in extreme circumstances - which any of the occupations right now were not except Iraq, and that war was PUBLICLY supported.

        We are a democratic state (or we should be), which means it is not any one or group of people's fault we are destructive, it is every citizens fault who allows it. You waived your right to be a citizen when you do not actively participate in politics.

        For the last time, a president is not responsible for ill behavior of a nation, and it is not a politicians fault the system is as shitty as it is, it is our fault. Blame Americans, not America. PEOPLE PEOPLE PEOPLE - not persons or a person.
        • thumb
          Sep 10 2012: I didn't miss your points... I agree with all except that the war was publicly supported. The Bush Administration lied constantly to pull public support for that war to just above 45% when he declared it. And yes, he and his administration declared that war, it had nothing to do with public desires.

          I agree that it is the peoples fault for supporting both political parties which are evil and destructive... I would like them to stop, and find new leadership... It's our fault, I want us to fix it, by not electing idiots who want to murder people indescriminately with our money.

          In order to do that. First we all have to admit that we've been choosing the lesser of two evils for 30 years, and it destroyed our once strong economy.
  • thumb
    Sep 10 2012: "Well... Obviously neither one of them is very smart."

    give me a break
    • thumb
      Sep 10 2012: Someone with a 100 IQ... Would have a new idea once in awhile.
      • thumb
        Sep 10 2012: It is not about new ideas, it is about understanding the timeless ideas. The contrast should be between a guy who did very well by practicing capitalism and one who doesn't know the difference between Adam Smith and Keynes and who's only "job" has been a government appointment.
        • thumb
          Sep 10 2012: The contrast should be on policy, ie plans to govern.

          Timeless ideas... Returning to a 25 year copyright. Ending the patriot act and the NDAA. Reducing the number of incarcerated non violent criminals. Ending oil subsidies. Stopping the Fed from bailing out, or sponsoring corporations... I love timeless ideas, one of the parties should bring them back.
      • thumb
        Sep 10 2012: Who is more likely to do what you said? So far with just Obama care there are something like 100 NEW agencies created not to mention how many they want for Frank Dodd. Understand that everyone of those 100 are as big as those you mention. A comparison would be to FDR who started just 10 agencies.

        The point about timeless is the Constitution, none of these agencies are constitutional including TSA or the subsidies.
        • thumb
          Sep 10 2012: And Mitt Romney has suggested he plans to get rid of the TSA and these hundred organizations? Or did he claim he would get rid of obama care, but then say he'd keep the most expensive part, pre existing conditions... but he simply wouldn't pay for it.

          You do realize that the Paul Ryan budget is 4 trillion dollars in cuts underfunded right?
      • thumb
        Sep 11 2012: Again who is more likely to make the cuts?
      • thumb
        Sep 15 2012: If you say so
  • Sep 9 2012: Tough to separate personal innovativeness in problem solving from the party position.