Monday Morning QB: Planning & Politics

I think I’m actually supposed to be a Tues a.m. QB; it’s been a few years since my fantasy football days.  Packing up and heading down to NOLA shortly, where I’m packing up Willow Street, working on my presentation for Friday, checking out the public housing exhibit at the Ogden, and generally catching up with the city.  I don’t know when I’ll be back after this, and I’m apprehensive as usual about what I’ll find.

As a result, my thoughts are a jumble, and I’m cheating a bit on posting by throwing up some planning and politics-related articles from the NYTimes. 


Women Leader’s are Moms Too 

Of course, I’m compelled to respond to this: Newsflash!  Women leaders are moms, too!  And it’s good for you and the country!  I know this is supposed to come as some sort of relief, that the “masculine” rules of the game are changing…but honestly, how different is this from the old notion of (male) politicians shaking hands and kissing babies? 

I know, male politicians haven’t been portraying themselves as fathers – yet (so far, we like the physician-turned-politician theme best in terms of role transformation) – but the idea of children as photo op is not new just because Pelosi and Clinton have grown children they now count – and rightfully so – as resume achievements (This other idea of the “listening tour” as a feminized strategy has some merit as I google the term, but is by no means an exclusive ploy of women candidates).  The notion that women can finally embrace something that is still essentially considered their primary responsibility and source of pride is a bit overdue, overdone, and trite.  Child-rearing as relevant accomplishment should be an essential part of many women’s political campaigns, given the elder average age at which women enter politics, i.e., after they’ve raised their families, especially in Pelosi’s generation.

I actually love Condi’s quote at the end of this article, but I feel the inclination of disagreement rising up in me.  As much as I loathe society’s over-emphasis on marriage and baby-making for women, I think the latter is ultimately one of our competitive advantages, and we should use it as such.  Not at an overriding expense of our other personal and professional assets, but the real truth is that the world should be pushing men to embrace the caregiving and managing multiple roles and responsibilities that arises from parenting, versus demanding women retreat or play down such realities.  Of course, the real tragedy between the Boxer-Rice exchange is the shots these two women take at each other over their personal lives.  Somewhat understandable when you consider Condi is actually the Bush’s more or less adopted offspring, and executioner, as such.


Suburbia’s Angry Populists

Of course, listening tours among all politicians make help them locate suburbia’s “angry populists,” you know, your neighbors freaking out about the economy from behind the wheels of their S.U.V.s as their kids quietly play with the latest portable Playstations. I’m guilting as a political neophyte of buying into this economic insecurity; you’ve seen me write about it elsewhere.  There’s something to be said with the checked-out consumption patterns of middle-class and affluent Americans.  They don’t necessarily contradict the insecurity politicians are harping about, but people are not necessarily living their lives in fear either.  I’m torn about this issue, and would be interested in your feedback.  To me, there’s so many professional, class and regional demarcations to dig into in a trend like this; I keep in touch with friends from business school and have family members who earn and consume in volumes I can’t imagine, but I am still attending the same alumni and holiday dinners with them.  There’s more to this article than meets the eye…duh.


Loving the Car and Cursing the Pedestrian in NYC 

Finally, speaking of regional variation, here’s a fun one on how NYC is actually bringing up the rear on transit and quality of life issues, compared to the “rest” “of the universe.”  Adam Gopnik and others have written repeatedly on how NYC has rebounded and is thriving due to its “suburbanization” or “big box” transformation.   Apparently, that includes embracing the car as the primary mode of urban transportation.  All I know is that the congestion tax in London is a fantastic idea being investigated in developing cities around the world, and that the MBTA (Boston’s miserable “T”) is now the same price as NY’s remarkable subway system – a public transportation outrage worthy of some chiding coverage. 


I’m off – via car – to the airport.


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