The other O’Reilly

October 29, 2008 | By | 2 Replies More

Tim O’Reilly (the technology book publishing O’Reilly) lines out his technology focused assessment of why he is supporting Obama in this post on his blog.

We are in unprecedented times. And folks, I’m sorry to say that the current financial meltdown is not the worst of it. Political instability around the world, wars over access to resources, and yes, terrorists, are all in our future. Scientists who’ve studied global warming agree that we’re heading towards decades of extreme environmental stress, leading to even more severe economic disruptions than we have seen to date. Meanwhile, we have an aging population with ballooning healthcare costs, an unfair economy in which some people receive outsized gains while others fall behind, an educational system that is not preparing children for the future, and deficits that require an increasing percentage of our tax dollars to service debt to other countries. Even if there is a short term recovery, huge problems loom in the years ahead, problems we can no longer pass off to our children and grandchildren.

Faced with these problems, we need a president who can harness the best and brightest our country has to offer, a president who is conversant with, and comfortable with, the power of technology to assist in solving these problems, a president who is good at listening, studying, and devising solutions based on the best insight available, rather than on narrow ideology. We need a president who can forge consensus, not just among the partisans in our own fractured democracy but around the world. We need a president who can inspire our citizens and our global partners to forgo narrow self interest and embrace the possibilities that we can achieve if we work together to build a better future.

It is good, heartfelt stuff, though sometimes I quibble with Tim’s assessment of emerging technology as a source of more solutions than problems. Some intelligent disagreements as well. These days I’ll take comfort in any reasoned discussion and use it as balm against the crazy rhetoric on all sides.


Category: Politics, Technology

About the Author ()

Lisa lives and works in the city of St. Louis, and is striving to develop the right mix of both while asking herself what it means to live a good life. You can follow her on twitter

Comments (2)

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    Lisa: this sounds like good stuff. I agree with O'Reilly's concerns and I agree with his assessment about what kind of leader we need. I agree with his implicit concern that even a great leader might not be good enough given the extent of the problems we're facing. Nonetheless, it seems like a no-brainer that we should pick leaders that cause less damage than those who cause more damage. That's why I prefer Barack Obama over John McCain, because I see John McCain as a mistake-prone shortsighted vindictive person who is likely to cause as many problems as he solves. I see Barack Obama as someone who will surround himself with smart people with whom he feels comfortable disagreeing. Too bad we did have more that over the last eight years.

  2. grumpypilgrim says:

    One of the telling points of this campaign was the VP debate, in which Sarah Palin spoke substantively about only two subjects: her family and the Alaska state legislature. On all other subjects, Palin answered with sweeping generalities that can best be described as "pageant answers." By contrast, Biden, like Obama, can speak substantively about every major issue currently facing the country. Why is this important? Because Sarah Palin, like John McCain, George W. and many of their supporters, are *reactive* thinkers; whereas Biden, Obama and many of their supporters are *proactive* thinkers. Their academic records reflect this difference: Palin, McCain and Bush were terrible students; Obama & Biden were outstanding students. And what distinguishes "C" students from "A" students? It's not just raw intelligence (though Obama and Biden obviously shine there, too), it's also the ability to anticipate what will be on the test. Good students understand what matters and what doesn't, and they learn what they will need to know; poor students are ignorant of what matters, and learn only what they are told to know. Palin, by not understanding anything outside her immediate world, and McCain, by recognizing his ignorance of economics (for example) but doing nothing to address it, advertise their stupidity and incompetence. (McCain's behavior is classic: tax cuts are the only economic tool he understands, so it naturally becomes his solution for every problem. When the only tool you own is a hammer, your entire world become a nail.) Unfortunately for them, too many of their fellow Republicans apparently share this trait, and so are blind to it. Meanwhile, people like Obama and Biden — the ones who did well in school — learned how to distinguish the important from the irrelevant. They learned how to solve problems, which is exactly what a nation in crisis needs.

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