Politics and media today seem locked into parallel scrums, with one crucial difference: evenually the better, faster pieces of the media scrum will break away, and the crowd will roar its approval. The political teams will churn their legs faster, get muddier, even bite off an ear, with no clear break -- let alone applause -- in sight. American politics today are the new situation normal, all f-ed up. They, and the Bush administration in particular, could take a lesson from media, which however messy and counter-intuitive it appears on a given day, is always plowing forward. And Americans benefit.
The new situation normal for our president is to huddle ever-more tightly with his home team, just knowing that their break is coming. The more complicated Iraq becomes -- mounting casualties among Iraqis and American soldiers, successful elections but vicious ethnic and tribal battles, the stubborn lack of real improvement in the lives of Iraqis -- the more W. and Co. dig in. Heads down! Victory is ours!
In media, a blizzard of exploration and partnerships, from portals going into video and television, TV shows showing up on cell phones and search technology becoming the driver for our future media consumption, have made the new media normal one long, frantic heads-up. Put your head down and you'll miss the ride into people's living rooms and onto their digital handhelds. You won't catch Microsoft, Yahoo, or Google, or one of the phone or cable companies studying their toes; keep to yourself, in this business, and you die. Details: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/07/technology/07video.html?pagewanted=2
President Bush, our first chief executive to have gone to business school, somehow lost the thread between his free-market sensibilities and sensible political applications. We don't have proof he was much of a businessman, but you know he talks the talk, particularly when he needs to make a point about big business needing room (profit margins) to innovate. But what about collaboration, building consensus, leveraging broader input from others? He must have skipped class that day. And our country, and other countries, suffer because he prefers his dark huddle.
If I could send him a text message I'd say OPEN UP. And because it could only help, I'd add BREAK LEFT.