Obama, Benton, Boeing, And The IAM: A Hope For Mulligans

There are so many really dumb statements made by smart people who would love to take those comments back. “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, “ was said by Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM. “Radio has no future. Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible,” William Thompson. “Everything that can be invented has been invented,” Charles Duell, 1899. It is amazing what people have said.

Obama makes the statement, “you’ll be able to keep your current insurance.” I think he’d really like to take that back now. His approval ratings are at an all time low, and, according to reports this morning, 49% of Americans wish now they had voted for Romney, while 45% are glad they voted for Obama. I know our citizens are fickle so we need to take these numbers with a grain of salt.

I wonder if David Madore and Tom Mielke still feel they had done the right thing by appointing Don Benton as Clark County Environmental Director. They had both said that he had the qualifications for the job, while the Columbian newspaper continues to question whether that is true or not.

On the other hand, Don Benton continues to show his true colors. He has threatened a county resident, Ed Barnes, who has been complaining that Benton is not qualified to do the job he was appointed to. Benton seems to think he is a private citizen, and as one he cannot have someone saying bad things about him. However, when he was appointed, and the county residents expressed dismay, he became a public figure. As Lou Brancaccio stated this morning in the Columbian, Benton is wrong to threaten someone for speaking their mind about a public figure, which Benton is one. I think this will be one of those moments that Benton will look back at and wish he hadn’t said what he said. Benton is a bully, and if appears he has always been one.

This morning the Columbian published a great political cartoon. It showed a motorcycle and a sidecar with the motorcycle rider being identified as Boeing and the person in the sidecar being identified as the IAM. The sidecar was left behind while the motorcycle kept going forward.

The illustration reflects the fact that the 777X, the new airplane that is at the center of the dispute between the company and the union, had huge sales at the Dubai Air Show. 150 airplanes were sold for $100 billion. However, the IAM, claiming high ideals, rejected the contract proposal from the company for elimination of pensions prior to the air show. Now the 777X will be built somewhere other than Everett, Washington. The IAM is saying now is the time to stand up for the middle class. How does one do that when a decision ends up driving all of the work out of the state? One of the last Washington State employers that pay a marvelous wage will now take its work somewhere else. How do you call that a win? The IAM will look back at this and wonder why they did what they did. They have not learned from their negotiations with Caterpillar.

On the other hand, Boeing, your make the irreversible demands on your workforce while McNerney is guaranteed $265,000 per month of retirement pay? How is that fair. This will be one of your moments that you will look back and say why did we do that.

The lack of leadership in all of the above situations is just incredible. But just like the movie executive who said that who would pay money to hear actors speak, the above individuals are going to look back at these events and say why did I say or do what I did.

All of us wish we could get a mulligan once in a while.

And that is my thought for the day!


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