side of fries

exact change
July 2, 2008, 10:46 am
Filed under: Politics

I remember working at various crummy jobs that required me to wait as some nice lady dug through her purse muttering, “I know I have a dime and three pennies in here somewhere.”  I grew to loathe exact change.  From the start, I think Barack Obama has been pretty clear on what he means by change: no more red and blue thinking caps.  Some may think Senator Obama created shades of gray.  He didn’t.  But he has reminded people that life, and by extension, policy, rarely plays out at the extremes.  Senator Obama has already made some frenemies on the left with his decision about FISA.  Editorial boards are bummed out because the Senator actually wants to win and is forgoing public financing.   (It’s too bad that in the midst of their melancholy they can’t find the time to report on McCain’s financing shenanigans.)  Most recently Obama’s announcement of structuring a relationship between government and faith-based groups has some liberals feeling squeamish.  The problem with being the “change” guy is that everyone wants you to give them exact change–as if providing each potential voter with the exact combination of policy initiatives and ideological synchronicity they desire is as easy as getting a ten, two fives and five ones.  I know that there is a certain satisfaction in exact change–a kind of triumph of perseverance and a pride in a nice variety of coinage.  This is not without merit but it is no more noble than rounding up.  So what do we do with a politician that has fifteen cents instead of thirteen cents?  We take thirteen cents of change and trust them with the two we give back.


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