Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Goolsbee Goofed

Chicago professor Austan Goolsbee, Barack Obama’s chief economic adviser, just learned a valuable lesson about politics. Be careful what you say. In a meeting with Canadian consular officials in Chicago. Goolsbee suggested that Obama’s anti-NAFTA stance was more about domestic political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plans.

It seems improbable that one ill-advised statement by an economic adviser will derail a presidential candidacy. If Obama wins his party’s nomination and the general election, Goolsbee is likely to join him in to Washington, D.C. In that event, I recommend that Goolsbee keep handy two works of literature.

One is a letter entitled "A Single Spark can Start a Prairie Fire," written on January 5, 1930, by Chinese Communist party leader Mao Zedong criticizing certain pessimistic views then pervading the party regarding the seizure of Jiangsi Province. The other is the conclusion from an old nursery rhyme composed by an unknown author about nails, horseshoes, horses, riders, battles, and kingdoms. "For want of the nail a kingdom was lost."

My advise to Goolsbee is simple. Trust no one in politics or the media, stay out of the limelight, and be content to work behind the scenes.

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