, Newburyport, MA

September 28, 2013

Want success? Try growing a beard

Bill Plante
Newburyport Daily News

---- — “So,” I asked Big Freddy after we had done talking about the all-Irish takeover of Boston’s mayoral race, “what do you make of the what’s going on in Washington ?”

“Those who can should grow beards,” Freddy said.

“Why beards?” I asked.

“Look at what they’re doing for the Sox,” Freddy said.

“Situations get bad enough you don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water, you have to find a way to lighten the load. So the Sox dump the slumpers, bring up those of promise, start winning instead of losing, and then grow beards to keep the momentum growing.

Result? They’re Number One. Politicians should take notice.”

“You’re mixing your metaphors, but I take your point,” I said. “Both parties are staggering.”

“And Congress has been neck deep in political quicksand,” Freddy said. “Its leaders aren’t leading - they’re haggling.”

“Apparently Obama is making his way at the UN over his threat to take out Syria’s poison gas supply,” I said.

“But with hat in hand,” Freddy said.

“Say again?” I asked.

“We’re no longer the old Number One taking bows for trying to market democracy on the one hand by taking out those in the muddled East who have totally different ideas.

“We’re Number One Minus with Congress split down the middle on just about everything. It’s stalemate one thing after another, and the shine has gone out of Obama’s presidency.

“Who would have believed - say six months or so ago - that Putin, of all people, would be the peacemaker who gets Obama off the hook in Syria?

“Well Obama brought that to a head with his threat to take out Syria’s poison gasses,” I said.

“That he did, and look what it got him at home,” Freddy said. “We’re sick and tired of trying to be the world’s peace maker by going to war wherever for whatever.”

“But there’s no guarantee Syria will actually surrender all of its poison gasses,” I said.

“And there’s no guarantee the UN Security Council would use military force to make that happen no matter what the writing on the agreement says, but it’s enough to make Putin Number One there and on the world’s stage,” Freddy said.

“But doesn’t it diminish Obama’s presidency?” I asked.

“Depends on the eyes of the beholders,” Freddy said.

“Spinners are at work everywhere. Putin can take his bows for something he had to do to protect Russia’s interest. He had to react to Obama’s threat because Syria’s big-time importance to Russia, and it puts him on the world stage as a peacemaker.”

“But it diminishes Obama,” I said.

“No real scars,” Freddy said.

“And who knows? Maybe it really was Obama’s strategy to force Putin to do what he did all along.”

“That’s a stretch,” I said.

“But it’s politically comforting and I wouldn’t be surprised if that doesn’t come up somewhere down the line because time’s running out on this presidency,” Freddy said.

Bill Plante is a staff columnist.