Monday, December 08, 2008

You Want Change? In WASHINGTON?

Our Pres-Elect's worrying one end of the political spectrum and guess which one?   Yep!  Lefties are all a-twitter that The Messiah may actually be...dare we say it?...ohmeohmy this could be terrible!...whatever shall we do?...whisper now cuz it's too horrible to contemplate...a centrist!  OMG!

I guess it's easy to imagine governing from the loony left when your political maturity doesn't exceed that of a reasonably educated 8th grader, just as Dubya's most fervent acolytes believed he could lead from the rabid right.  Wrong, both times.

Frank Rich, writing in yesterday's NY Times comes at this from WAY out in left field (pun intended) and resurrects JFK's appointment of some REALLY smart people, the "best and the brightest," who promptly led the country into Viet Nam.  

Typically "Richian" in its whiny opaqueness, I can't figure out the editorial's central point, assuming there is one.  Is it that even smart people do dumb things?  Or choosing competence over ideology sometimes results in getting neither?  Or the difficulty of gaining experience without acquiring unsightly battle scars along the way?  

Or, maybe, we can avoid the past's mistakes by appointing higher numbers of the earnest, the pedigreed and right-minded?  Yeah, that'll work.  Where's Neville Chamberlain when you need him?  Oh right.  Dead, but still arguing that we never gave Hitler a fighting chance to prove how misunderstood were the Nazis.

Parenthetically, given The Messiah's youth and relative inexperience, I can't imagine how Rich's editors let slip his use of this David Halberstam story...
"Halberstam wrote that his favorite passage in his book was the one where Johnson, after his first Kennedy cabinet meeting, raved to his mentor, the speaker of the House, Sam Rayburn, about all the president’s brilliant men. “You may be right, and they may be every bit as intelligent as you say,” Rayburn responded, “but I’d feel a whole lot better about them if just one of them had run for sheriff once.”
Umm-humm.  You make a good point there, Frank, though probably not the one you intended.

Truth is, America is a centrist country.  Always has been, probably always will be. The loudmouths and credit-takers occupy the fringes.  But, like my favorite noise-cancelling headphones, white noise spewing from kooks on my RIGHT cancels - and is cancelled by - the spew from the loons on my LEFT.  Extremophiles are good clean fun, tolerated - humored even - by certain media outlets, but seldom entrusted with the keys to the public trust.  The Quiet Center gets you elected...and keeps you there.

I have no idea how The Messiah's cabinet will perform under pressure. Typically, there'll be some stars, a few duds and lotsa plodders and sloggers.  We could do worse, and certainly have.  

The future's uncertain and the end is always near, sang Jim Morrison.  I think THAT'S what's REALLY bugging 'ol Frank.  He thought the world, as seen from the Upper East Side, would be firmly under control by now.  Controlled by HIS people, not by the great, unwashed masses out here in flyover country.  History can be SUCH a bitch.


Spokane Al said...

And I think that the Obama team needs to remember that though they won, they got only a bit more than 50% of the vote, which is not exactly a left wing, country-wide mandate.

And anyone who quotes the late, great Lizard King is okay in my book.

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M said...

Agreed with Spokane Al. And the thing is, I think the little bit that put him over the edge are really the more conservative-leaning people that were simply sick of the Buch regime and thought, "well hell, let's just give the guy a chance." and a chance is what he'll get.

Thing is, I really think that in Obama heart of hearts, he's as far left as they come. But he is smart enough to know that being that far left will never satisfy the masses, and that he will need to move more towards center to prove that he can truly "reach across the isle."