Shorter David Brooks

5 comments March 24th, 2007at 10:57pm Posted by Eli

“Dear Voters: Please elect another amoral hack.”

When we Americans pick a leader, we usually look for the Leonidas type: direct, faithful and upright. We usually pick someone we hope is uplifting. Especially since Watergate, Americans have sought presidents uncorrupted by capital intrigue.

From Carter to Reagan to Clinton to Bush, we’ve favored Washington outsiders, people who seemed to offer freshness or authenticity, whose claim to leadership flowed from some inner light, rather than rugged expertise in the tough and nasty business of national politics.

But I wonder if this will be the election in which voters seek out a Themistocles, an election in which they put aside dreams of finding somebody pure and good, and select somebody they think will be wily and effective.


[W]hat the country seems to need is somebody who understands power, and the subtlety of its use, and who has had direct experience with friends and foes, foreign and domestic.


This is a unique set of qualities – more Themistocles than Leonidas, more Bismarck and Sharon than Gandhi, Havel and Mandela. People who have this mixture of idealism and wiliness are usually experienced and tainted by scandal.

But I suspect the voters will go to the polling places with a colder eye this time. In any case, before we get too lost in the tactics and personalities of the campaign, it might be a good idea to actually figure out what kind of leader we are seeking to hire, what qualities the times require. Is it those of Themistocles or those of Leonidas, or someone else?

So, who is this a love letter to? Rudy, McCain, or (ugh) Newt? Or possibly Hillary…

Entry Filed under: Elections,Media,Politics,Wankers


  • 1. Ruth  |  March 25th, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    Brooks has blown by any semblance of connection with reality lately, and I expect this is a large wet kiss for corporate Murka. It sounds like Bill Gates would be closest to the model he’s drawn up. Except that Bill Gates has gotten to the mountaintop and decided what’s important is doing the right thing for them climbing slowly along behind him.

  • 2. ronjazz  |  March 25th, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    He’s talking about Abu G, somebody who’s really good at lying and lawbreaking.

  • 3. Eli  |  March 25th, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    Well, except he’s talking about who we should vote for in 2008. He’s certainly making it clear that he thinks starry-eyed idealists like Edwards, Obama, or Gore would be *disastrous* as president.

  • 4. MEC  |  March 25th, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    Wily and effective? Who was the last President to be considered “wily”? Repeal the 22nd Amendment and bring back Bill!

  • 5. Eli  |  March 25th, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    You mean “Slick Wily”?

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