Thursday, December 22, 2011
In this Christmas Season
This is our reality. Mr. Obama has with this law reduced the choice of President to a vote based on which of two people is the more reasonable, fair-minded person. As an historical event, this bill probably represents a famous principle of Presidency--namely, that all Presidents want as much power as they can get. So, e.g., the Republicans opened the door, and as President Mr. Obama simply isn't going to close it. Indeed, with this bill he opens it wider. It's a matter of perceived practicality versus legal theorizing. Mr. Obama thinks, no doubt, "I'm the guy that has to stop this bastard." And in this clarity Mr. Obama proves decisively that he's a better President than Bush, who saw the world through muddled glasses first day to last, and for all his blather and all the killing, stopped nothing.
But the down side is Ms. Wheeler's point--what will Newt (say) do with this power. Because the track record looking back to 1980 is very very bad for American Democracy, as an invisible hand. And perhaps this is why polls are trending now for Mr. Obama. Maybe most Americans would still rather not give the keys to a guy in a clown suit who walks down the street talking to himself.
See, here's the thing. There is going to be a guy in the White House who has to deal with stuff that no one wants to deal with. The GOP can apparently convince their boys that this problem is really not much, that all that guy has to do is just say "ok" when it really comes down to it--the rest of it gets decided by "experts," and the prez is just the legal on/off switch, and how daunting can that be. The Dems, they tend to think their guy actually has to decide stuff more like we humans decide--thinking about consequences intended and otherwise, understanding that doing nothing is a decision, trying to balance interests, or ignoring interests, staying up late, getting up early, pretty much spending his whole life on the job. And all of us just have the little choice we can make, the little vote, and we'd best remember that any choice we make, including spending a November Tuesday at the movies, or checking some Nader off the list to make a "point," that has implications too, about who ends up with this crazy job of dealing with stuff that one one wants to deal with.
There's a nice Bukowski poem on this theme--the guy in the clown suit I mean. I'll hunt up for you sometime.