Empty promises are a political guarantee.

Today’s column from Charles Krauthammer examines the messianic fervor surrounding the Obama campaign and how those promises of hope and change may ultimately be empty. It’s an interesting, if not terribly original, column. I think he hurts part of his supporting argument by ignoring the difference between American and Canadian politics, as well as the difference in time periods between Sen. Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau. Still, he’s effective in raising the correct basic questions.

His conclusion:

Democrats are worried that the Obama spell will break between the time of his nomination and the time of the election, and deny them the White House. My guess is that he can maintain the spell just past Inauguration Day. After which will come the awakening. It will be rude.

I agree, because our government is set up in order to create that reality. And I hope it happens when Sen. Obama is inaugurated. It can’t happen fast enough, given the conflict-avoidance we have now in Congress to the advancing hostilities of the Bush administration.

Of course, willful partisan blindness is not unique to Obamaniacs. For Mr. Krauthammer: In the face of all the evidence from the last seven years, how much would it help if the Bush dead-enders would come to the same rude awakening he expects of Obama’s supporters?


I have a minor quibble over how Mr. Krauthammer’s establishes his foundation.

There’s no better path to success than getting people to buy a free commodity. Like the genius who figured out how to get people to pay for water: bottle it (Aquafina was revealed to be nothing more than reprocessed tap water) and charge more than they pay for gasoline.

Leaving aside the silly notion that water is free as most people consume it, the entrepreneur doesn’t see bottled water as selling a commodity. The entrepreneur sells convenience.

When I’m away from home, I need not bring my own water or even my own container. If I have a dollar, I’m freed from carrying either. It also meets my preference for cold water by allowing me to buy it from refrigerated storage, an additional convenience for me, given what I’d have to do to have that when and where I want it.

I have a different example of a free commodity. When I toured Wrigley Field many years ago, I took a pinch of infield dirt. I could clearly get a pinch of dirt almost anywhere. But I wasn’t getting the free commodity. I “purchased” something other than dirt. The mythical benefit that dirt gained by virtue of being placed in a specific plot of land on Chicago’s North Side mattered to me. Value is not always in what a product is, but what’s been added to it, as judged by the subjective preference of the consumer.