Horrible Bosses and Failures in Political Leadership

Horrible Bosses and Failures in Political Leadership

It was a dark and stormy Wednesday. Well, I guess I wouldn't call it "stormy". Drizzling? Maybe. Anyway, in keeping with my lack of a social life I went out by myself to go watch a movie. I wasn't really digging any of movies that were playing, but I eventually opted to see the comedy flick Horrible Bosses. The movie is about three guys who are tired of dealing with their respective bosses, resulting in their desire to kill them. This movie goes all out to show you where these guys are coming from by showing the three bosses abusing authority, disregarding subordinates, and even using blackmail as a coercive tool. If you haven't seen it before,  you should give it at least a matinee viewing. It's actually funnier than I expected it to be (I enjoyed a lot more than The Hangover 2, to give you a little perspective), but that's not why I'm writing this blog post. No, anyone can write about  movies; I'm crazy enough to apply it to politics.

Unless you are a) not an American citizen or b) an American citizen living under a rock, you probably know about the political circus that was the debt ceiling debate. Political rhetoric throughout the debate was ludicrous and off-topic, with Vice President Joe Biden calling the Tea Party "terrorirsts", House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi calling Speaker of the House John Boehner "Darth Vader",  and Senator John McCain's use of the term"debt-ceiling Hobbits". If you ask me, our politicians need to turn off the TV for a bit.

How is it possible that the simple process of raising the debt ceiling - an act that had occured seventy-four times since 1962 - was met with so much political drama? I personally blame it on our politicians in both Congress and the White House. Not their policies, per se, but rather the lapse in leadership and uncompromising stance of individuals running our country.

The first boss we see in the film is Nick Hendricks' boss, Dave Harkin. For months Harkin has promised Nick a promotion, and in that time has humiliated him about being late for two minutes, tricked him into drinking in the morning, labeling him as a drunkard, and finally gives himself the promotion, belittling and intimidating Nick after the announcement. President Obama, like many other politicians in this debate, has said one thing and then went on to do antoher thing. At the onset, he pushed for raising taxes and protecting Medicare and Social Security. In the finished debt deal, no new taxes are formally stated, and he proposed cuts to both social welfare programs during the debate. The President could have been the adult in the room and sought compromise, but he too is guilty of using intimidation. He made a point to illustrate potential economic catastrophes in an attempt to use Wall Streetas a form of political intimidation. And while the debt ceiling may have caused economic issues, his emphasis on the potential effects on the poor and middle class served as emotional tools to put public pressure on more right-wing leaders.

The Republican establishment isn't coming out of this debate unscathed, either. In the film (***spoilers***) Harkin commits a murder and plans to pin it onto Nick and his friends. Likewise, a blame game of sorts preceded the final debt deal, with Republican leaders blaming the President, Democratic leaders in Congress, and even members of their own party. Such accusations did not contribute anything of substance in the debate, but rather caused more finger-pointing on both sides.


Dr. Julia Harris, another one of the titular bosses, continually attempts to seduce her assistant Dale Arbus, going so far as to blackmail him to cheat on his fiance. Subsequently, the desire for ideological purity in both parties and the failure to reach common ground further demonstrates a failure of leadership. Tea Party caucus members of the House were bound by the anti-big government stance of their constitutuents and as a result these 60 politicians had the potential to place any deal hostage for their own views. They placed so much emphasis on appeasing their own base that they were willing to derail talks aimed at defusing a national issue. Their factional interests tied down Speaker of the House John Boehner and the rest of the Republican leadership in a way that stifled the political process, and got away with it with the threat of using the ballot box against their own party. Boehner and Majority Whipe Eric Cantor even made it on a Tea Party "hit-list" of party leaders to get rid of. If one faction of a party can't even agree with its own leaders, how can it possibly help make a deal with the other side? Apparently not very well, considering many of the "no" votes on the House debt ceiling bill were Tea Party representatives.


Maybe I'm analyzing a comedy more than I should. But in an age where our political leaders act as mature as a 6th grade lunch table, it's a little too easy to feel despondent about the "horrible bosses" that run this country. Fortunately for us, there is a method of removing such individuals that is safe and legal: voting. Don't like the way someone is handling their position? Pick someone better! That's what this country's all about. So please, can we fire some of these bosses already?

Metro Music!

Elvis Presley, "A Little Less Conversation"

Transplants, "Diamonds and Guns"

Pogo, "Bangarang" (Hook Remix)


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