Republican Presidential Candidate Andy Martin took time off Sunday evening to watch the first show of ABC’s new “Pan Am” drama. Andy says that the world in 1963 depicted by “Pan Am” tells us why Republican primary voters are in such a desultory mood in 2012.
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Andy Martin says the new ABC series “Pan Am” reminds us of an era of American leadership
Martin says Republicans today are frustrated by lack of a candidate who is a good leader with the potential to become a great one
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
(HONOLULU) (September 28, 2011) If you want an explanation for what happened Saturday in Orlando, where Republican delegates decimated the campaign of Texas Governor Rick Perry and gave their votes to pizza man Herman Cain (link below), I have a very outside-the-box suggestion: take a look at “Pan Am” on ABC.
I watch almost no entertainment television, and I am not a TV reviewer. But based on a lifetime in politics I do believe there is a close connection between “culture,” popular entertainment and the zeitgeist of an era. I’ve been flying for over 50 years and loved to fly Pan Am in the 1960’s. I’ve flown in almost every airline aircraft since the DC-4. So I enjoyed the “hype” about the new ABC show “Pan Am” and decided to tune in. In addition, although my memories of New York go back to the 1940’s, I started to experience the place as an adult in the 60’s. The series takes place then. It’s fun to watch.
Kicking back after a busy week politically put me in the mood to do something presidential candidates rarely do: relax and think.
I always start with the disclaimer that I am in the top 10 of presidential candidates but have not made it into any of the debates. So I have to work a lot harder and be a lot better and act a lot smarter to get noticed. On the other hand, I am proud to be the “Favorite Son” candidate in New Hampshire. We could maybe just “outperform” in the First Primary. We’re working hard to achieve that goal.
I’m fundamentally different than the other Republican presidential candidates because I have more worldwide experience than any of them (thanks, Pan Am) as well as more varied political experience than any of the others. And I’m a writer and thinker and analyst by training, not a professional political type. So what did “Pan Am” tell me?
“Pan Am” is a metaphor for what we were, and what we have lost, and what we have to regain as a nation. “Pan Am” tells us why Ronald Reagan became so successful, and why Republican primary voters are in such a sultry mood today.
In the “Pan Am” era, Americans could do anything, and did do everything. Pan Am was led by visionaries who helped create the modern world in which we live.
Today, Congress can’t even decide how to repair bridges. Both parties are “locked down” in losing strategies that offer voters no future.
As I watch the presidential debates, and as I reflect with over 40 years of television experience, I am amazed by the subliminal negativity of the Republican candidates. All of them hammer away relentlessly at how bad things are, and how much worse they could become. But none of them generate any confidence that they could take command and be a commander. They really don’t know how to tune their message.
Not one of my opponents is a Reagan, with a sunny disposition and a positive self-attitude. Someone who has tasted both success and failure as they went through life.
Obama is also a bummer. Watching him, people who voted for Obama know what anyone could say behind their backs: “Suckerrrr.” Obama conned the American people and they are not happy about it. Obama’s own cronies admit he is a “pilot” with no experience in the cockpit. The new book by Ron Suskind, “Confidence Men,” offers a devastating portrayal of Obama’s failures as a leader. Being led by Obama is like being in the back of an airplane during bad weather. We are experiencing the same sense of helplessness you feel when there is nothing you can do but wait for the turbulence to end.
Most of the Republicans who were voting in Orlando Saturday remember the 1960’s. They remember when we led the world because we were world leaders. American technology was world class. American “human engineering” was the best. The American people are still supermen and superwomen but their leaders are super losers. From “Can do nation” we have become a rabble of “Can’t dos.”
There was a time, seen in Pan Am, when people actually walked onto airplanes. Today we have to go through a strip search to board. Kids could ask to visit the cockpit. No more. We live in fear of Muslim terrorists and any other whackos armed with crude weapons. Security has become a necessity; but it has changed our state of mind.
We have not found a way to live with our individual insecurity while looking for leaders who create an aura of security for the nation as a whole. George W. Bush had that grasp briefly, but squandered his power with a senseless obsession invading Iraq.
Watching “Pan Am” you don’t recognize the America of 1963. Today we are constantly admonished to feel defeated and depressed.
We live in a desultory age where all of my primary opponents delight in telling us how bad things are. That’s why are the Republican presidential candidates failing, and why I have a slim chance in New Hampshire of upsetting their applecart. I am a positive spirit; they are not.
My attitude towards life is fundamentally positive. The Gipper and I could sit down and start shooting the breeze and seamlessly connect. Today’s media-favored presidential candidates cannot connect with Republican primary voters let alone connect with the American people.
Can you imagine yourself sitting down just to gab with Newt Gingrich? Of course not. Santorum? Give me a break. Bachmann would be entertaining, but not in a presidential sort of way. Government injections, anyone? Herman Cain might be all right, if he brought the pizza.
Rick Perry comes closer, but he has shown that being a Texas blowhard is not enough of a credential any more. I often agree with Ron Paul on the issues but when he appears on camera I start laughing; GE’s Mr. Magoo is back. Ron Paul is not going to lead us anywhere. He may be looking to the past, but Paul is not a leader from our past. He is perfect for the small-screen world in which we conduct our politics today.
Pan Am reminds us of an age when we were positive, felt positive, took positive approaches to the world. We led.
Pan Am is also an economics lesson and foreign policy refresher. Pan Am created the Boeing 747. Over forty years later, the plane is still being built. American leadership and technology. The latest Boeing plane? The 787? The 787 is an embarrassment and a potential financial disaster for Boeing.
An MI6 officer makes an appearance in London; yes, Pan Am helped our government because every American helped our government in the 1960’s. We were the government back then. Fighting the bad guys was something all of us were expected to do.
Juan T. Trippe wanted to make Pan American World Airways the “chosen instrument” airline of the United States. Scrappy TWA took lesser routes and lesser cities around the world and was able to frustrate Trippe’s grand dreams for “chosen instrument” status. But in a pinch the feds always turned to Pan Am, not TWA. Pan Am flew to Kabul, Afghanistan. In the 1960’s. The world was a safer place (and Kabul was a better place, as well).
I’m not like my primary opponents. I believe we can restore America’s greatness, and fast. I believe the American people are waiting for a leader, not waiting to be led to the slaughter by Chinese communist mandarins.
People who remember the 1960’s remember my “can do” America. Their grandkids can’t even find a job. Many kids today are living at home. Adolescence has been prolonged into the 20’s; Obama “insures” “children” up to the age of 26. Greedy politicians, including Mark Kirk of Illinois, are exporting our jobs to China for the proverbial thirty pieces of silver in campaign donations. It’s all “clean” and all legal, and it all smells.
The World War II generation bequeathed an awesome nation to Americans. Then came the “Boomers;” maybe we should call them the “bummers” or “bunglers” instead of Boomers. Frustrated with Boomer incompetence, voters dumped that generation in 2008 and went on to the next cohort of leaders. They’re even worse. So almost all of the Republicans in 2012 are “boomers.” Will we “get it right” this time?
How do you tell voters the truth abut the “badness” of our current situation without equally dwelling on the “goodness” of our society? It’s not an easy task.
A good leader has to be able to look within himself or herself. A good leader has to have self-doubt. A good leader has to work overtime and be an over-achiever. And then a good leader has to make a decision and make it happen. That’s how great leaders are born. In the Pan Am era America made things happen;, today our national disclaimer is “—it happens.”
Ronald Reagan became a great leader through trial and error. But Reagan did become a great leader. That’s why Republicans keep harking back to his administration and invoking his memory.
“Pan Am” reminds us of a period when every American was a good leader, striving to become a great one. It was then that we made the world we still live in today. Now we have to do it all over again. Start from scratch. Learn to walk again. Can we still be “Can do?” I believe we must. We have a history a history of “Pan Am”-like victories to build on.
That’s why “Pan Am” represents both a metaphor for our past and a challenge for our future. The world would like us to fail, to be more like “the world.” Can we remake the world? Retake the leadership role? Do you trust any of the Republican presidentials to lead us on that journey? Obama?
Now you know why I’m running for president (and why I have the common sense to take a night off now and then and relax; Ronald Reagan would understand and approve). I am a tough leader for tough times. I have seen the worst and the best in life. On Day One, the world would change with me making decisions.
“Pan Am” reminds us of that era when America was “number one” because we were the best, the brightest, the hardest working, the most visionary and the most egalitarian. We earned our leadership role. Now we have to earn it all over again.
I can lead. I want to bring back the America we knew in the 1960’s. And I won’t stop trying. That’s what a good leader would do.
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LINKS TO THIS STORY (cut and paste the entire link below and not just the underlined portion):
ABOUT ANDY: Andy Martin’s family immigrated to Manchester, New Hampshire 100 years ago. His mom was born in Manchester. Growing up, Andy spent summers in New Hampshire. That’s why he’s New Hampshire’s “Favorite Son” presidential candidate. Today Andy is a legendary New York and Chicago-based muckraker, author, Internet columnist, talk television pioneer, radio talk show host, broadcaster and media critic. Chicago Public Radio calls Andy Martin a “boisterous Internet activist.” The Chicago Tribune calls him “Chicago’s own…political activist.” He has over forty years of background in radio and television. He is the author of “Obama: The Man Behind The Mask” [www.OrangeStatePress.com] and he produced the Internet film “Obama: The Hawaii’ Years” [www.BoycottHawaii.com]. Andy is the Executive Editor and publisher of the “Internet Powerhouse,” http://www.ContrarianCommentary.com. He comments on regional, national and international events with more than four decades of investigative and analytical experience both in the USA and around the world.
Martin has been a leading corruption fighter in Illinois and American politics and courts for over forty years. [www.AndyMartin.com] He is currently sponsoring http://www.AmericaisReadyforReform.com. See also http://www.FirstRespondersOnline.us; http://www.EnglishforAmerica.org
He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law and is a former adjunct professor of law at the City University of New York (LaGuardia CC, Bronx CC).
Andy’s columns are also posted at ContrarianCommentary.blogspot.com; ContrarianCommentary.wordpress.com.
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