Bob Franken

A Fantasy About Warren Buffett

There seems to be one point of agreement: EVERYONE says he or she is sick of the campaign. Well just about everyone. Television outlets have certainly enjoyed the gazillion dollars they’ve made from the ads, and the jump in viewers attracted to the months and months of political intrigue. For the rest, Election Day arrives just in the nick of time. The story is getting old.

Sorry peeps. It’s not over next Tuesday. To borrow the cliche, that is just the end of the beginning. Assuming our results have been counted and we know who won, a big assumption, to be sure, November 5th and maybe the 6th will be the most critical days.

That’s when the new President-elect will need to hit the ground running. It will be essential for him to make some announcement so bold, and so popular, that the national morale gets a quick and lasting boost.

Actually, I was pondering what that might be. Without any insider knowledge, my daydreaming concocted a scenario that is in the realm of pure speculation. To me, though, it’s plausible. So hear me out: Assuming that Barack Obama becomes the “Chosen One” for real, I would not be surprised if his very first announcement is that he’s nominating as Treasury Secretary Warren Buffett.

That’s right. Warren Buffett. Think about it: The man is more popular than God. Probably richer. If he wanted, he could probably make the United States a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, which has been run a helluva lot better than the country has.

All kidding aside, let’s not overlook the timing of his biography’s recent release. Is it just a coincidence that the disclosures about Buffett’s less-than-traditional romantic life are now public, rendered uncontroversial because they’re diminished as”old news”?

As I said, this is wild speculation and nothing else, but Warren Buffett has become a hero, in a plain-spoken, Omaha kind of way.. Whether Buffett joins the new government or not, Obama will need to establish in a hurry that his administration will be one that can begin to recover the country’s lost trust.

We are caught up in a national malaise. It’s imperative we recognize that it’s justified. Only then can we summon the will to stop the slide and honestly address the flawed policies that have propelled us downward.

That’s where we’ll need leadership that is bold and methodical at the same time. Ideas will need to be thought out and properly explained. Unless we recapture a spirit of cooperation, the election and all the talk of change will have been a waste of time.

If we were hoping to catch a breath after the election, let’s forget about it. There’s no time for that. Our new leaders will have to establish immediately they don’t represent more of the same.. We can’t even have more of the similar. Neither of the candidates has really addressed the magnitude of what’s ahead. Each has offered faux “solutions” that really nibble around the edges.

It’s an open question whether we will be willing to abandon obsolete dogmas and do the hard work necessary to create a climate for creative policy. It will take a President who can rally us all. Whether it’s Obama or McCain who is leading our parade we will find out in a big hurry whether it’s a march forward or a final retreat.

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