- Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
- Sir Winston Churchill, Hansard, November 11, 1947
British politician (1874 – 1965)
Joe Klein has a fascinating discussion of all the grief Obama’s getting in the latest Time. The list is endless. Obama didn’t go to Berlin for the 20th anniversary of the wall coming down. He didn’t make a forceful enough statement on the 30th anniversary of the U.S. diplomats being held as Iranian hostages. Wasn’t sufficiently mournful at the Fort Hood shooting. Namby-pamby about whether it was an act of Jihad. Bowed to the Emperor of Japan. Allowed the Chinese to censor his TV presence, etc., etc.
What’s enlightening about the article is that at this point of Obama’s presidency, Joe Klein refuses to weigh in on the mud-slinging. His fundamental reason is that he cannot discern a pattern that illuminates Obama’s presidency. However, there is an obvious pattern in the media’s tendency to get “overwrought about almost anything.” Why, he asks, is it crucial for a U.S. president to be present at the Wall’s 20th anniversary? And what U.S. president has gotten the Chinese to agree to anything big?
But what’s intriguing about Klein’s article is that he does find a meta pattern extending back over 40 years since Nixon initiated the Southern strategy for Republicans. Not only is there a serious drift toward more ideological political parties, but the Democrats usually catch hell far more than the Republicans. For example: “Of the past seven Presidents, the two Bushes rank at the top in popularity after one year, while Obama and Bill Clinton rank at the bottom, with Jimmy Carter close by.”
Klein suggests that the real iissue is that the Democrats are eager to govern the heck out of the country and take on impossible issues, like budget balancing and helath care reform. And that, in Klein’s mind, explains all the political noise.
I put the famous Churchill quote alongside Klein’s comments for a reason: To remind us that democracy like much of the American way of business and relationships is typically messy, media exploited and often filled with irrelevant clap-trap. Witness the nonsense about Tiger Woods. Why should a half-way intelligent person give-a-damn. And why should CNN and the networks play it up other than to generate noise and sell time to their clients. Get Real!
I’m cuious as to your response about these issues.
P.S. The Klein article is not up on the web as of today. You should be able to find it next week at time.com/swampland, late next week.