Dear ITT Ideologist: Executive Functions and the Search for 2008

Pete Karman

Dear ITT Ideologist,

President Barack Obama has been criticized for governing from within a bubble. They say he is remote and out of touch with ordinary Americans. Critics blame this on his supposed all-but-total reliance on executives from my firm, who selflessly serve our nation. Don’t you agree with me that this is unfair? And please don’t hesitate to be candid despite the fact we hold the mortgage on your enfeebled mother’s modest bungalow in Sunshine City. 

–Lloyd Blankfein, CEO, Goldman Sachs

Dear Mr. Blankfein,

Thanks for your concern for mom. Frankly, I did worry until recently about the range of advice our leader was receiving. Understandably, President Obama feels most comfortable swapping ideas and gaining insights from those with whom he has entrusted his retirement accounts. But even the brightest and best-intentioned advisors can sometimes be inspired to greater success by the addition of an outside catalyst. That’s why, with all due respect to Goldman Sachs, I applaud the president’s decision to add a fresh perspective in the person of JP Morgan Chase executive William Daley. Cynics might say, hey, Goldman, Morgan, Citibank, what’s the dif? I say check out the decor and entrees in their executive dining rooms before indulging in such generalizations.

Dear ITT Ideologist,

I recently watched a piece on 60 Minutes about people with such remarkable recall that they remember events and their exact dates from their first adolescent zit to the hour and minute the last liberal deserted Barack Obama. Though my memory is pretty good, I draw a complete blank when it comes to 2008. I consulted John McCain and he said he had no memory of that year either. Where did it go?

–J. Black, Hollywood, Calif.

Dear Jack,

You and the super senior senator have run afoul of the anti-eight speech law agreed to by both Dems and Repubs in a not-uncommon example of confluence of interests. 2008, as you don’t recall, was the year in which the economy went belly up under President George W. Bush and also in which Obama made a lot of promises about changing the ways of Washington. For obvious reasons, both parties prefer that no public reference ever be made again to those occurrences. Meanwhile, ours being an enterprising nation, a thriving black market has exploded in banned 2008 memorabilia. You’ll be pleased to know that copies of Kung Fu Panda, an animated movie in which you starred, are selling like mittens in Minnesota. So, before you forget, get on the phone to your agent and make sure the checks are still rolling in.

Pete Karman began working in journalism in 1957 at the awful New York Daily Mirror, where he wrote the first review of Bob Dylan for a New York paper. He lost that job after illegally traveling to Cuba (the rag failed shortly after he got the boot). Karman has reported and edited for various trade and trade union blats and worked as a copywriter. He was happy being a flack for Air France, but not as happy as being an on-and-off In These Times editor and contributor since 1977.
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