Friday, March 21, 2008

What Clinton's Schedule REALLY Says

Everyone is talking about the schedule Hillary Clinton kept as first lady and whether that translates into certain level of expertise in policy issues, both foreign and domestic. Detractors argue that her various meetings and ceremonial activities were purely "fluff", while others point to speeches, meetings and other events that required a clear, calm and collected intelligence (as well as diplomacy and, in a couple cases, bullet proof vests). You can read some about these perspectives through coverage in the Washington Post.

What no one has really said about these schedules, however, is the apalling environment in which serious, complex and sometimes life-or-death decisions get made! Imagine a schedule where from 4:35 to 4:40pm you are presented with a gift, from 4:40 to 4:50pm you are told to give a speech thanking the giver and then from 4:50 to 6:00pm you're meeting with a Congressional committee about health care. Who can make rational decisions when they are hopping back and forth between audiences, issues and tasks?

Rarely do I see in an elected officials' schedule something along the lines of "2:00pm to 4:00pm: Thoughtful contemplation of the potential solutions to our nation's health care problems." Or, "3:00 to 4:30pm: learn something about the budget process before I go out and vote on it." This is not the fault of opinion leaders. Anyone who trys to disappear for a few short hours to undertake some research is often seen as lazy. In DC, as in other major cities, the rule is "go, go, go."

Sometimes, it's better to stop and smell the roses (or the tax code as it were). Less scurrying about and more thoughtful contemplation might make for more rational decisions.

Just a though -- now I'm dashing off to sleep!

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