Sunday, December 2, 2007

Our Vicarious Former President

That Tony Blankley is such a good writer. "Having spent much of my adult life in politics, it would be silly at this late date to be shocked by the discovery of insincerity and misleading statements coming from leading candidates for president. But if I have seen too much of the world to be shocked, at least I still can be appalled. And the gentle lady, the junior senator from the Empire State continues to appall." Just makes me laugh. What a great word. Appalled. Expect to see much of it from now on in these pages.

His point is an obvious one, which I've been considering pontificating upon. Hillary keeps talking about her experience. Um, what experience is that, exactly? Her one term as an elected official? Yes, that is definitely a form of experience. Not more than anyone else running. Significantly less than many, or all. Obama was after all a state senator starting in '97. Is there any other relevant experience she could possibly be referring to? Nothing springs to mind. Nothing rational, I mean. Nothing not-appalling.

What's that you say? Her husband was president? And prior to that he was governor? And this is her experience? Huh. Apparently having opinions is the same as being an expert. And in all the world, there's no such thing as an ignoramus. Thanks for that, Hillary. You have redeemed all us loudmouths. You are the messiah of wannabes, or the wannabe messiah, or something. Something good. You've told us so yourself.

"There is a difference between a candidate having a particular policy and having experience in managing such a policy." The same goes for Giuliani "when he claims experience in foreign policy. While I like his general attitude on foreign policy, he doesn't in fact have experience or expertise in the matter." Me too. "If Hillary claims she has the best ideas about our national economy, she is entitled to claim that. Socialists will agree; capitalists will disagree."

Ideas are not experience. Experience is not something we acquire vicariously. If that were the case, we'd all be Jedi Knights and dragon slayers. We'd all be heroes. That the media doesn't apprehend this most fundamental of lessons -- meant to be learned sometime around when we master the concept of object permanence -- well that's understandable. The media makes its living on illusion. But that those aspiring to the positions and privileges of leadership, if not the responsibilities, should fail to grasp this -- it is, well, it's appalling. Simply appalling.

There was a time in my youth when all my understanding about how the world worked came through books. My broadest reality came to me entirely filtered through the imagination of authors. Life itself, in contrast to its simulations, is very hard, very trying. It's the difference between standing at the finish line and watching the marathon runner finish the race, and being the runner, finishing. The only commonality is geographic. Any further comparison is shameful.

Hillary, for all her husband's infidelities, is not the one who went gray during the clinton years. They were the clinton years not because of Hillary, but because of her husband. I have no opinion about what sort of wife she was. I need no opinion about what kind of executive she was. She was no kind, and there's no need to have an opinion about nothing.

Experience requires decision-making, where there are real-world consequences. If Hillary "actually was managing the national economy from 1993-2000 from her perch as wife of the president, let her release White House documents showing her active participation in such management. ... If Hillary actually was doing what she implies she was doing, there will be a long paper trail of memos that she either wrote or commented upon." If there isn't such a trail, how can she prove herself not to be an appalling liar?

Clinton's honesty has always been an issue. Hillary's, I mean. Double-talk, deception, dissembling, flip-flop, murky ethics, intimidation, obfuscation, cover-up, scandal, slick and slippery -- these are terms that accrue, and rightly, to the female as much as to the male. A poll of likely Democrat Iowa voters favored Obama 2 to 1 over Hillary, regarding honesty. That's an absolute blowout. The Clinton slogan will be whatever it will be. Maybe It's the economy, very stupid -- as we'd have to be, to do it to ourselves again. But the Republican slogan will be the same old thing, and rightly. Character matters. I say this, in spite of my willingness to support Giuliani. A matter for another day.



Will C. said...

If I were President, you'd be in my cabinet...somewhere. My Rove if you will.

Is that a bit like Stewart Copeland naming Sting as his bass player?

Jack H said...

My, who DOES think a lot of himself? Yes, certainly, I'd be ever so PLEASED to be your Igor. How may I serve you, Master? More hummingbird tongue?

I know not of whom you speak, this Copeland character. Some bassball player? Ah, yes, I know your American bassball pastime quite well, with your many Athletic Associations vying for the coveted Global Banner Prize in our Capitol City, Copper'ston, on the North American Continent. Often as an imago on this cold planet have I enjoyed the many rounds we would play, my fellow hatchling mammals and myself. What! Don your stockings and toss a hand to the striker, that the platters not be filled with the cleats of our adversaries and no aces be achieved, ho! "Qwulvargrirk!" would my squadfellows all command in unison, "hurl the orb to us! -- that we might be victorious in this, our favorite entertainment in the bright radiation!" Yes, I know the "bassball sport" so well from my happy human childtime all those solar revolutions ago, scores, I believe. Ho!