Tag Archives: consequences of a dull political class

Bush’s Third Term

We now here from Barack Obama that wars will be against symmetric enemies whose success or failure will depend on their military budget, and it is impossible to get an American steak in Japan.

In a way, these Obamisms make me happy. It may be better to have a wise leader over a foolish one, but I’ll take an incompetent idiot over a resourceful one any day.

Not that Barack H. Obama (or the man he resembles most in style, George W. Bush) is an idiot. Both BHO and GWB survived the dangerous world of American politics with a combination of short political careers (lest time for career ending blundres), unearned benefits (the affirmative action hire, the legacy pick). Both also enjoyed a political base more interested in ousting the other party than in presenting a coherent set of policy initiatives.

While there certainly was a time when the “best and brightest” went into politics (Richard M. Nixon and George H.W. Bush being prime examples), that day seems to be past. Politics is a poorly paid ghetto of the professional world, while global business increasingly lures those who want to change the world… and make money doing so. We are then left with the question: how should be choose politicians, if we know they are sub-par?

Clearly, we want to minimize the harm they can cause. If our leaders are going to be more foolish than in the past, we can at least guarantee they are odius and gaffe-prone enough to make it politically costly to engage in any new or original policy. Senator Obama fits this description closely, and without the political courage of his opponent, comes with the additional benefit of not being able to take a punch.

Is is that question of political courage which is the main stylstic difference between an Obama presidency and merely giving Bush a third term. As seen in the Iraq War, Bush would rather see his program through victory than enjoy broader political support. Obama’s done nothing to imply that degree of political bravery. Considering what we have seen of Senator Obama so far, that is a good thing.

Update: I had just finished this post when I read that Barack Obama voted for the farm bill. As G.M. Groff writes, “The farm bill is absolutely absurd and economically hurtful. I’m glad McCain voted against it, and disappointed that Obama voted for it.”