Nobody listens to techno

I think that some of conservatives’ malaise about Romney stems from the fact that, although Romney is indeed a Galtian, he’s technocrat, not a baller shot-caller. He didn’t build railroads out of Reardon steel or hire Pinkertons to shoot striking workers, he just pushed paper around. Worse still it’s hard to hear him rocking out to Lee Greenwood or convincingly claiming that he thinks freedom is God’s gift to the world. Bobo today:

In sum, great presidents are often aristocrats and experienced political insiders. They experience great setbacks. They feel the presence of God’s hand on their every move.

Unfortunately, we’re not allowed to talk about these things openly these days. We disdain elitism, political experience and explicit God-talk. Great failure is considered “baggage” in today’s campaign lingo.

Today’s candidates have to invent bogus story lines to explain their qualifications to be president — that they are innocent outsiders or business whizzes. In reality, Romney’s Bain success is largely irrelevant to the question of whether he could be a good president. The real question is whether he has picked up traits like emotional security, political judgment and an instrumental mind-set from his upbringing and the deeper experiences of life.

A couple points here. First, would any of you choose a Jeebus-praising fuck-up like W over a successful businessman (even a vulture capitalist) like Romney? Romney would at least be able to think about the possible costs of something like the Iraq War. How can that not be an advantage?

Second, this is a perfect example of what Corey Robin describes as the bedrock principle of conservatism “that some are fit, and thus ought, to rule others”. What I still don’t understand, though, is why those fit to rule others have to be Jeebus-lovers and manly men, not technocrats. I say this as someone who is supremely suspicious of Friedman-style Sinophilic worship of supposedly omniscient political leaders: I cannot understand conservatives’ rejection of intellect and policy knowledge.






102 replies
  1. 1
    Corner Stone says:

    Pomplamoose.

  2. 2
    Citizen Alan says:

    So Romney’s a looter, to use Rand’s term. As opposed to a moocher like, well, most of us.

  3. 3

    Friedman-style Sinophilic worship of supposedly omniscient political leaders

    Are you talking about Chinese deification of emperors?

    Or are you referring to a sycophant who happens to admire Chinese culture?

  4. 4
    jl says:

    Most people do not like Romney because he is weird (and by that I do not mean his religion, I mean, personally, he is weird). He is a contemptible and obvious hypocrite and flip flopper.

    He also writes opposition attack ads whenever he opens his mouth.

    What’s to like? I guess other people with Mitt Romney tendencies like him.

    I don’t think it is the technocrat part that bothers people.

  5. 5
    MikeJ says:

    Romney would at least be able to think about the possible costs of something like the Iraq War. How can that not be an advantage?

    The way Bain was run was, “can we loot this place and be out of here before the shit hits the fan?”

  6. 6
    Suffern ACE says:

    If only those things could be discussed openly. In a public forum. But no, the patricians must retire to the silence of the parlor now that ladies must be admitted. And quality men don’t wear smoking jackets any more either.

  7. 7
    JGabriel says:

    Three whole paragraphs of Bobo? 125 words?

    I feel nearly certain that this is DougJ’s way of saying to us, “I’ve suffered for my blog posts, now it’s your turn.”

    .

  8. 8
    Tonal Crow says:

    Quoting Bobo:

    We disdain elitism,

    Now you’re complaining about this, when Republicans have spent the last 40 years emitting every kind of postmodernist twaddle so as to undermine not only the empirical elites (that is, scientists), but also the very concept of truth that supports them.

    …and explicit God-talk.

    You could have fooled me. I cannot recall a day in which the Times has not quoted someone’s “explicit God-talk”. We’ve got “God-talk” up the wazoo. What we don’t have — but desperately need — is science-talk, and more generally an empirical (not theological) approach to problems.

    God (!) I hate Bobo.

  9. 9
    hildebrand says:

    “Stop right where you are. You know the score, pal. You’re not cop, you’re little people.”

    And that is how Mitt and his merry gang of amoral hacks sees the rest of us – without actually giving us the choice.

  10. 10
    penpen says:

    Two words, DougJ: first principles. They must never be compromised, especially not by mere “facts”. A conservative who doesn’t know the right answers ahead of time, just isn’t conservative enough.

  11. 11
    Tonal Crow says:

    @jl:

    Most people do not like Romney because he…is a contemptible and obvious hypocrite and flip flopper.

    You forgot “reprobate liar”, as in a liar who knows he’s lying and is determined to go on lying as long as it benefits him. As in his doubling down on the out-of-context “talking about the economy” ad.

  12. 12
    DCLaw1 says:

    Yeah, I think Bobo may have had one two many rounds of pinot-grigio-and-pills with Peggy Noonan before he slouched over his keyboard to type a lament about the absence of God talk from our national politics.

  13. 13
    JGabriel says:

    DougJ:

    I cannot understand conservatives’ rejection of intellect and policy knowledge.

    Because Conservatives expect Conservative leaders to represent them, not think for themselves. Or, if they do think for themselves, to think exactly like the Conservative base.

    BTW, do you really think Mitt is any more intelligent, or knowledgable about policey, than Gingrich, Santorum, or Paul? I suspect Huntsman is, and that all of them are smarter than Perry (or that Perry is suffering from medication related neurological deficiencies) — which, granted, is a low enough bar to tip-toe over.

    .

  14. 14
    gaz says:

    Today’s candidates bobbleheads have to invent bogus story lines [ about applebees salad bars ] to explain their qualifications to be president an overpaid hack.

    Okay Bobo, FTFY. You’ve got a classic case of projection. Seek psychiatric care.

  15. 15
    srv says:

    Romney is a rational, intelligent guy who is happy to play his role. He can do Massachusetts, he could “do” America.

    Objectively, if you think the only way to keep America out of a lost decade is say, some crazy Keynesian stimulus, you’d vote for Republican who with the aid of his hypocrite enablers can do a crazed double judo back-flip in 2013 and do a stimulus the “Reagan” way. Or you could vote for the dem, and just get four more years of the same.

    Romney’s a Mormon who thinks like Jack Kennedy. All his fellow Bishops are whispering in his ear “Don’t fuck it up as the first Mormon President.”

    GW played the wingnuts for 5-6 years before they woke up and felt violated.

    Technocrats are wishy-washy nerd cowards. You need cowboy boot or a real hairdo to be a leader amongst men.

  16. 16
    handy says:

    First, would any of you choose a Jeebus-praising fuck-up like W over a successful businessman (even a vulture capitalist) like Romney? Romney would at least be able to think about the possible costs of something like the Iraq War. How can that not be an advantage?

    Good God you are trolling yourself now.

  17. 17
    Suffern ACE says:

    I once thought about doing something in life, but figured my wealth and high birth would only be impediments. So now I just drink myself to sleep every night at the bar in the ski resort I own in Switzerland, pretending that I’m an exiled Russian Count and my wife is a young Kim Novak.

    You know, if you take Bobo’s topic selection down to more mundane level covering the likes soap and doing the dishes, he could take over the niche left by Andy Rooney and get some regular work on Sundays.

  18. 18

    doug, its one of the innumerable simpsonian postulates that you don’t win friends with salad.

    its also the platonic rhetorical observation that faced with a choice, people will believe the bullshit over the nuance, every time.

    when elections are about winning, then doing what you want. when the reasons why you do or don’t do something is handled by the marketing department,all you really have to do is remind the people that they already don’t like the other guy/gal. policy is what the salesmen bring you, and your sales people tell you works. because you are the center of the universe.

  19. 19
    DCLaw1 says:

    As far as aversion to technocrats goes, I think this is true of American voters in general, although perhaps slightly moreso for conservatives. The presidency in this country has become (has for a long time been?) a repository and amplifying mirror for the national, emotional zeitgeist.

    Electing a president has so much more to do with what we want to tell ourselves about ourselves, as a nation, than what sorts of skills and competences we think we need to lead the country at any given time.

  20. 20
  21. 21
  22. 22
    Hob says:

    @Linda Featheringill: I believe Doug was referring to specific Friedman emissions such as this and this. Although more recently he seems to have had a change of heart— or maybe not, I don’t know, see if you can figure out what the fuck he means by “the Internet, blogging, Twitter, texting and micro-blogging, as in China’s case, has made participatory democracy and autocracy so participatory, and leaders so finely attuned to every nuance of public opinion, that they find it hard to make any big decision that requires sacrifice.” That is an actual quote.

  23. 23
    middlewest says:

    People with intellect and policy knowledge passed the Civil Rights Act, and for that they can never be forgiven.

  24. 24
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    So now I just drink myself to sleep every night at the bar in the ski resort I own in Switzerland, pretending that I’m an exiled Russian Count and my wife is a young Kim Novak.

    Prince and Catherine Deneuve, but, yeah, me too.

  25. 25
    Redshift says:

    Dammit, you actually made me click through to Bobo to see if he made clear whether he was talking about Americans or Republicans with “We disdain elitism, political experience and explicit God-talk.” And he doesn’t (though that seems to imply he means Americans), which makes it another boneheaded Boboism, because his party loves “God-talk,” and they’re the only ones who “disdain elitism.”

    But surprisingly, he actually makes some good points, like that there is no particular correlation between business success and political success. It’s counterbalanced with patrician Republican platitudes like “they were raised, often in an aristocratic family, with a sense that they were the natural leaders of the nation,” which is then contradicted by most of the examples that he cites, but unlike many of his columns, it’s not unbridled stupidity from beginning to end.

  26. 26
    ChrisNYC says:

    I wouldn’t trust Romney to have made the right decision on Iraq.

    The guy is a technocrat, true. Watch him in the 2008 debates. He talks about healthcare and the access/cost tension and his eyes light up. He’s fascinated by it and pretty damn proud of his MA achievement. BUT YET, now, he’s running down this thing he clearly LOVES. He’s running down the whole thinking process. He’s abandoning his own governmental child, which he CLEARLY thinks is right, because hey it’s kryptonite. Put him in a room with Cheney and the rest and the threat that he would be called a coward and he would have nuked Iraq.

  27. 27
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Redshift:

    it’s not unbridled stupidity from beginning to end.

    Is bridled stupidity that much better?

  28. 28
    Brachiator says:

    I cannot understand conservatives’ rejection of intellect and policy knowledge.

    intellect and policy knowledge does not make a great leader. Didn’t you watch any Star Trek tv shows growing up?

    But Bobo’s stuff about aristocrats and a deity’s paw clutching onto presidents in the making is just making shit up. This is the great thing about being a pundit. Evidently, you are doubly immune from the fact checking that might be applied if the newspaper gave a damn.

    I don’t recall Andy Jackson, Lincoln, Ike, Nixon or even Saint Ronnie being aristocrats and heavy political insiders. But Bobo is one of those shills who will play the humble man myth, or the aristocrat myth, as needed. Gotta love that situational punditry.

  29. 29
    Angry DougJ says:

    @ChrisNYC:

    I wouldn’t trust him either, but I’d trust him more than W.

  30. 30
    Redshift says:

    @DCLaw1: I’ve often thought there are advantages to constitutional monarchy. Reagan inflicted horrible damage on the country, but I think he would have made a fine king (in the purely ceremonial role, of course.)

    There are things a lot of people want a president for that aren’t what presidents do. If we had a separate role for that, we might be better off.

  31. 31
    Hob says:

    @srv: Or: a (successful) technocrat is just a person who has learned some managerial skills, which are based on widely understood principles, and is good at his job. That’s not heroic and it’s not aristocratic. It’s the kind of thing that theoretically anyone with basic aptitudes could aspire to, which is an uncomfortably egalitarian idea. It’s much more comfortable to think of your leader as an innately superior being born with all kinds of ineffable virtues, and therefore suited to wielding the power that you don’t have.

  32. 32
    Redshift says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Is bridled stupidity that much better?

    In this case, oddly, yes. Normally I avoid Bobo because I can’t get through a column without gritting my teeth at the self-serving mendacity. In this case it was just mild instances of “that’s dumb” and “but that logic doesn’t actually work.”

    If this goes on, he may slip into the mode of George Will, where reading a column is just a game where you look for the inevitable logical fallacy that completely undermines his intended point.

  33. 33
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Redshift: I can see the advantages to separating the head of state and head of government, but the whole concept of monarchy awakens my inner Jacobin.

    @Redshift: Fair enough.

  34. 34
    handy says:

    @Angry DougJ:

    What would you trust him on? Iraq? He would have marched right in lockstep with the PNAC Neo-Cons. Tax cuts during wartime? Not seeing it.

    And by the way I’m talking about Romney as he is, today, not some mythical center-right version you seem to have in mind.

  35. 35
    Redshift says:

    @Hob:

    It’s much more comfortable to think of your leader as an innately superior being born with all kinds of ineffable virtues, and therefore suited to wielding the power that you don’t have.

    One of the weird contradictions embodied by modern conservatism is that their leaders are simultaneously considered to be Great Men who must not be questioned, and must be Regular Guys who don’t think they’re better than the average base voter.

  36. 36
    Angry DougJ says:

    @Hob:

    I think you are right, and that’s very well put.

  37. 37
    Hob says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: You’re married to Prince and Catherine Deneuve? DAMN.

  38. 38
    ChrisNYC says:

    @Angry DougJ: Ok, agree. Romney is hugely risk averse, as well, so that goes against adventures. I suspect he may just hide out from now till the convention because talking is so terribly perilous.

  39. 39
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Romney’s desperate, soulless, endure-all-humiliation ambition reminds me of Nixon, with the difference that (as I remember my Perlstein) Nixon was largely indifferent to domestic policy and saw himself as the great master of the international chessboard. Romney I think is Nixon’s mirror-image, seeing the gov’t as a company to be taken-over, streamlined and made to work for him and his fellow Masters of the Universe. So who would he turn foreign policy over to… We’ve seen that movie before, from the other trust-fund baby-boomer trying to avenge/trump the Daddy Who Stumbled.

  40. 40
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Redshift: Not quite. They are Great Men who must not be questioned but still act like Regular Guys who don’t think they’re better than the average base voter.

    Avoiding false modesty, I am a smart guy, well educated, who makes pretty good decisions in a crisis. I am not qualified to be president. I know this. I want someone who better than me in all of those categories to be president.

  41. 41
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Hob: No, I am a Russian Prince and …. But, hey, in your head you can do what you want. Excuse me, I need to go break up a fight between Bob Stinson and Mozart over the last of the fois gras.

  42. 42
    Jc says:

    BetweenTHOSE two choices it is the technocrat.

    And actually, the funny thing is, I think Romney is actually a decent technocrat. He’s not very good at the common man tour
    Ch, and comes off as false, but he has shown skill, in Olympics, in Bain, in being a moderate Republican in Mass, and has done a pretty good job turning himself into someone the crazy conservatives are going to grumble and accept.

    He’s also a much better debater.

    So he is a very skilled one percent technocrat – I think we have to give him that.

    Now, we already happen to have a very smart pragmatic technocrat on our side, who CAN connect with people, and is a much better politician, to boot.

    Hopefully, unemployment keeps going down, there are no strange unforeseen setbacks, and we get four more years of Obama.

  43. 43
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    So now I just drink myself to sleep every night at the bar in the ski resort I own by the ski jump I run in Switzerland Viroqua, Wisconsin, pretending that I’m an exiled Russian Count and my wife is a young Kim Novak I’m married to that nice customer service rep I just spoke to on the phone.

    Edited for modesty.

  44. 44
    JCT says:

    @ChrisNYC

    The interesting thing is how quickly Romney ran into trouble once he started opening his mouth and giving interviews. Remember how silent he was in the early stages? Now we know why.

    And DougJ, really, how can you read Bobo? He’s a pure emetic at this point.

  45. 45
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Suffern ACE: There is a ski jump in Viroqua? Cool. Can I get a Juicetariat discount?

  46. 46
    Jc says:

    And DougJ, really, how can you read Bobo? He’s a pure emetic at this point.

    He’s doing it for us. Don’t denigrate his sacrifice! :)

  47. 47
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Jc: Hey, it’s his kink. He can dress it up however he wants, but we still know.

  48. 48
    gaz says:

    @JCT: emetic – shit, I had to look that up.

    I love this place =).

  49. 49
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Jc: Things did not go well during Romney’s term as governor. His approval ratings were in the low 30’s halfway through his term, and they never recovered.

    Willard didn’t run for a 2nd term because he would have been crushed.

  50. 50
    burnspbesq says:

    What I still don’t understand, though, is why those fit to rule others have to be Jeebus-lovers and manly men, not technocrats.

    Because technocrats are, by definition, not ideologues. They worship the Goddess Data at the Church of What Works.

  51. 51
    Narcissus says:

    Romney isn’t a technocrat. He’s whatever he needs to be today. I doubt Romney even knows who Romney is.

  52. 52
    Jay C says:

    Christ on a tricycle, this is lame even for Brooks: has the man ever studied any American history? He tosses out a shlocky punchline like “great presidents are often aristocrats and experienced political insiders” without even the faintest appreciation that in the real American History (the actual turn of events, not some sneery pundit’s lazy gloss on it) our Presidents haven’t always combined those two qualities (which Brooks tries – and fails, as usual, to conflate).

    Even just in the last couple of generations, we have elected several Presidents who have been neither “aristocrats* or political insiders” : to wit:

    Herbert Hoover
    Dwight Eisenhower
    Jimmy Carter
    Bill Clinton

    “insiders” but certainly no “aristocrats”:

    Harry Truman
    Lyndon Johnson
    Richard Nixon
    Gerald Ford
    Ronald Reagan
    Barack Obama

    And those that were both:

    Franklin Roosevelt
    John Kennedy
    George HW Bush
    George W Bush the Lesser

  53. 53
    Nylund says:

    Unfortunately, we’re not allowed to talk about these things openly these days. We disdain…explicit God-talk.

    Could have fooled me! In fact, it seems like “we” disdain people who don’t engage in explicit God talk (much to the chagrin of us atheists.)

  54. 54
    Platonicspoof says:

    . . . why those fit to rule others have to be Jeebus-lovers and manly men, not technocrats.

    Sheldon
    Leonard
    Sean Carroll for Preznint!

    (I hope you’re smiling, Sean.)

  55. 55
    Ripley says:

    Romney may be a wonk in a very limited sense, and he may be able to put the squeeze on his own impulses, but he’s still a crusader. As a man of the people, he’s a spoof in the way his faith has demanded him to be: he can connect, but only with his fellows, and when the reward comes (be it power or the end of life) very few of us will not be invited to ascend with him.

    Or as Veritas puts it, VICTORY!

  56. 56
    Triassic Sands says:

    First, would any of you choose a Jeebus-praising fuck-up like W over a successful businessman (even a vulture capitalist) like Romney?

    I wouldn’t choose Romney over W. Not if suicide was an option. It’s one thing to vote for the lesser evil, but between those two I wouldn’t know how to decide. Do I think this country will be better off in 2021 if Romney serves two terms as president? No, I think it will be a disaster area. Eight years of either man is horrifying. Would the country have been better off in 2009 if Romney had been president the previous eight years instead of Bush? Maybe. But that’s a painfully uncertain maybe.

    Maybe Romney wouldn’t have attacked Iraq, but the way he’s yammering about Iran now, it sounds like he’s poised and even eager to follow directly in Bush’s footsteps. The thing is Romney will be president in the future, not the past. And with what has happened to the Republican Party over the past 12 years and the way Romney is running for president, I have no confidence at all that Romney will be one stinking quark better than Bush was.

  57. 57
    Jebediah says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Excuse me, I need to go break up a fight between Bob Stinson and Mozart over the last of the fois gras.

    Is either of them wearing a dress? And have they played any duets?

  58. 58
    Recall says:

    First, would any of you choose a Jeebus-praising fuck-up like W over a successful businessman (even a vulture capitalist) like Romney? Romney would at least be able to think about the possible costs of something like the Iraq War. How can that not be an advantage?

    You mean the possible costs to him.

  59. 59
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I need to go break up a fight between Bob Stinson and Mozart over the last of the fois gras.

    Which ‘Bob Stinson’? This guy? Or did I miss something?

  60. 60
    Jebediah says:

    @Anne Laurie:
    On the chance that Omnes has gone to bed – I am going to guess that he meant the former guitarist for the Replacements, a very colorful character and sadly a raging alcoholic.

    ETA: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Stinson He passed away in February 1995.

  61. 61
    JGabriel says:

    And here’s video of Bob Stinson playing lead for The Replacements in 1981: Johnny’s Gonna Die, about Johnny Thunders from the New York Dolls and The Heartbreakers.

    Thunders died about 10 years later of drug-related causes (or maybe leukemia) under suspicious circumstances. And Stinson died another 4 years after that.

    .

  62. 62
    Anne Laurie says:

    @JGabriel: Oops. Thanks!

  63. 63
    Jebediah says:

    @Anne Laurie:
    Hey – I beat him by 40 minutes!

  64. 64

    Well, you know stupid can break a lot of things stumbling around, but smart can think up a lot of creative ways to really screw the pooch.

  65. 65
    Baud says:

    Unfortunately, we’re not allowed to talk about these things openly these days.

    True. This type of talk is only appropriate in quiet rooms.

  66. 66
    Applejinx says:

    First, would any of you choose a Jeebus-praising fuck-up like W over a successful businessman (even a vulture capitalist) like Romney?

    Assuming your assumptions are correct- that W was a fuckup (agreed) and that Romney was/is an effective businessman (depends on your definition of the words):

    Yes I would. If evil is done I want it done ineffectively. You didn’t ask if I’d rather have Romney than say Cheney and the ones really pulling W’s strings- that’s a different question.

    If I only get to choose the figurehead, yes I want the evil done as clumsily and ineffectively as possible.

    You mustn’t assume these people are trying to do good or even acceptable things. Effectiveness in doing bad things is not praiseworthy.

  67. 67
    Shalimar says:

    Mitt Romney is the Olympian who pours the wine for the other gods. He may be immortal because daddy was important, but no one thinks he merits his own myth.

  68. 68
    Schlemizel says:

    @Jc:
    Hear, hear! I actually appreciate the FPs who read this sort of sludge. Not only does that save me from doing it it denies the source a few page hits!

  69. 69
    Schlemizel says:

    I cannot understand conservatives’ rejection of intellect and policy knowledge.

    Thats easy DJ! People with brains & policy knowledge are going to reject modern conservatism as a joke (a sad, sick joke). What choice do the conservatives have but to be against them?

    Why do Americans dislike technocrats? If you haven’t noticed there is a very strong anti-intellectual current in the American stream. People with smart are nerds and always screw up because they don’t really know anything. We luvs us some action hero who kicks ass first and asks questions never.

  70. 70
    p.a. says:

    can’t understand conservative rejection of intellect/technocracy? Cresus Jhist Doug the whole movement is based on delusion and lies…

  71. 71
    DanielX says:

    Unfortunately, we’re not allowed to talk about these things openly these days. We disdain elitism, political experience and explicit God-talk. Great failure is considered “baggage” in today’s campaign lingo.

    Bobo strikes again…just who is this “we” of whom he speaks? Maybe he’s missed the Jeebus invocations by every single Republican candidate with the possible exception of Ron Paul? Was I incorrect when I discerned that Michelle Bachman’s campaign and indeed her entire career has been based on biblethumping? Perhaps he missed that business about Rick Perry inviting other governors to join him at that American Family Association prayer meeting in August? Or leading the prayer to end the Texas drought? (Not too successful, be it noted.) All these things sure weren’t and aren’t disdained by the Republican base, and their memories work just fine, at least for anything that’s occurred since January of 2009.

    As for their rejection of technocratic expertise for guidance by Jeebus, I don’t agree with either the rejection or guidance. But I understand it, considering that virtually every major institution in America has screwed the pooch in spectacular fashion at one time or another over the last forty odd years. Congress? Wall Street? The Federal Reserve? The Catholic Church? Any other church (wetsuits, anyone?)? The military? The American auto industry? Major league baseball? Major league fuckups at one time or another or most of the time in every case, and anyone who spends some time thinking about it could come up with others. It truly is enough to make even reasonably intelligent people wonder if anyone at all in a leadership position knows what they’re talking about or what they’re doing, let alone those who take Rush Limbaugh farting into a microphone as gospel truth.

  72. 72
    Samara Morgan says:

    the bedrock principle of conservatism “that some are fit, and thus ought, to rule others”.

    that is not the bedrock principle of conservatism. the bedrock principle of conservatism is maintenance of the status quo.
    From Pythagoras to Jefferson the reality is that some are fit to lead, some can become fit to lead, and some simply cannot.
    That is why (in America) we ELECT a populist version of a Philosopher King.
    /sigh
    I was right again. Corey is another first culture bulshytt talker.

  73. 73
    Samara Morgan says:

    wallah DougJ….no elite can be elected by the NYFs (noble yeoman farmers) unless he can successfully pretend he’s one of them.
    that is Romney’s greatest problem– he can’t pass for one of them, even with the horserace media wetnursing him 24/7.

    besides, Romney is a Dalek Auton.

  74. 74
    Samara Morgan says:

    @DanielX: conservatives only prop elites because that is part of the maintenence of the status quo.
    America has always been ruled by elites.
    But the elites have to PRETEND to be populists to get elected.
    That is what that “someone you wanna have a beer with” bulshytt is all about.

  75. 75
    Samara Morgan says:

    And look….it is demographically and mathematically impossible for Romney to beat Obama in November if minorities vote for Obama in the same percentages as 2008.
    I do not see any evidence that minorities are falling off from Obama.
    And even Rasmussen has women for Obama over Romney 46/40 and women are not actually a minority in the electorate.

    And even the Great Nate Silver won’t talk about that because it spoils the horserace.
    Questioning Romney’s electability would become a self-fullfilling prophecy and the media cant make money off a one horse race.

    you should look at election years as the analog to the xmas retail shopping season for media providers and producers.

  76. 76
    brantl says:

    Republicans want to idolize what they think is righteous, not knowledgeable or wise. That’s been obvious for years.

  77. 77
    SRW1 says:

    The real question is whether he has picked up traits like emotional security, political judgment and an instrumental mind-set from his upbringing and the deeper experiences of life.

    Jebus, how much flip-flopping does a guy have to do to answer that question for bobo.

  78. 78
    rlrr says:

    I cannot understand conservatives’ rejection of intellect and policy knowledge.

    Using intellect and policy knowledge, one can:

    1. learn that western Europe in not a dystopian shit hole

    2. realize discussing marginal tax rates is not class warfare

    3. see that supply side economics is bull shit

    4. figure out that Fox “News” isn’t really a news channel

    5. etc.

  79. 79
    bjacques says:

    Jeez, cut Bobo a break. His theory of Romney as Great Man and Natural Leader is a work in progress, especially since Romney wasn’t his first choice for GM & NL. He’ll get it right eventually.

    Once Bobo has his grand unified theory of Romney as GM & NL pup and running, he can use it to explain everything. For example, if and when Romney releases his tax returns, Bobo can say that the stink coming from them is actually the residue of the pheromones of the natural alpha male on whose behalf they were filed. Anyone who doesn’t instinctively cower and present like a submissive purple-assed baboon is not a serious person. Shrill liberals are saying that not only has the emperor no clothes but he also has B.O. like a yeti that’s been rolling in yak dung.

  80. 80
    jafd says:

    @Jay C: said:

    “Even just in the last couple of generations, we have elected several Presidents who have been neither “aristocrats* or political insiders” : to wit:

    Herbert Hoover
    Dwight Eisenhower
    Jimmy Carter”

    If I may take minor exception here. Hoover had been administrator of the Belgian relief program in WWI, and, IIRC, Secretary of Commerce in the 20’s; Eisenhower the commanding general of the Western Allies in WWII and NATO afterwards. Methinks that qualifies them as governmental ‘insiders’, on the administrative if not the ‘political’ side.

    Carter’s family could be classed as ‘country gentry’ – big frogs in very small pond. One commentator in the 70’s put it “The sandwiches in his school lunchbox were _Storebought White Bread_”

  81. 81
    liberal says:

    @Brachiator:
    Agreed. When I read that excerpt, my immediate thought was Lincoln, who is definitely our greatest president to date.

  82. 82
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Brachiator: they were not “aristocrats”.
    they were elites.

  83. 83
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Bobo talking about Mittens, were at any point in The Mitten’s business career did he face any personal risk?

  84. 84
    graves007 says:

    Wouldn’t it be an awesome spectacle if you could draw a line down the middle of the US where each party can instill their governing philosophy to the hilt? I suspect the Republican half would be filled with violent gun crime, debt, high unemployment, executions of criminals (whether truly guilty or not), poverty, high divorce rates, high teen pregnancy, back alley abortions. Every Sunday they will congregate to grovel to their imaginary friend, to clear their conscience then do it all over again. This would be life in Republicanland.
    In Democratland you’d have horrible socialist ideals like universal healthcare, or rigid job killing regulations like protections on the food you eat, the water you drink or limiting how much a white collar crook can steal from you, and the biggest downside in Democratland would be void in quality entertainment due to no access to Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.

    By the way, google “fat republican radio drug addict” and see who comes up first and second….

  85. 85
    Mary says:

    Wait…Bobo is bemoaning disdain for “elitism”? Is it opposite day?

  86. 86
    jake the snake says:

    @jafd:

    What in my youth was called “light bread”.

  87. 87
    jake the snake says:

    @Mary:

    Conservatice doublethink: Elites are bad, while at the same time, they must be honored and obeyed.

    That is why a Democrat in Whitehouse, especially a non-white Democrat, causes such consternation, The president
    must be honored and obeyed, but he is from the wrong tribe.

  88. 88

    @Comrade Mary: Indeed. While others are cursing DougJ for making them click over to Bobo, I’m crediting (or blaming) him for this Eminem riff repeating in my head.

  89. 89
    patrick the pedantic literalist says:

    Krugman pointed out that the “technocrats” in Europe aren’t really technocrats when it comes to macroeconomic solutions. Instead of creating Keynsian solutions that history and data show actually work, they insist on austerity, faux confidence, and free markets in the Hoover tradition. I am afraid Romney is the same sort of technocrat — he can balance a profit/loss but macro ain’t micro, and in macroeconomics conservative technocracy will defer to conservative ideology. Romney, or any Republican will call for tax cuts, austerity, and privatization regardless of data and blame the resultant downslide on the failed Obama economic policies.

  90. 90
    Samara Morgan says:

    @graves007:

    Wouldn’t it be an awesome spectacle if you could draw a line down the middle of the US where each party can instill their governing philosophy to the hilt?

    been there, done that.
    its called the Mason-Dixon line.

  91. 91
    shep says:

    Don’t think about it too hard. At their core, base voters are authoritarian followers and for the past thirty years they’ve been indoctrinated to reject (elite) intellectualism (Carter) so they could follow the everything from the mentally addled (Reagan) to the bottomlessly ignorant (Bush II), and everything in between.

    Read Pierce’s Idiot America for more on the how.

  92. 92
    Mike G says:

    I cannot understand conservatives’ rejection of intellect and policy knowledge.

    I can, because by those standards their candidates are abysmal. By pushing Jeebus-humping and shallow telegenics as prime criteria, then they don’t look so bad. Because it’s all about winning the game – actual competency in administering the government rarely seems to cross their mind.

    The real question is whether he has picked up traits like emotional security, political judgment and an instrumental mind-set from his upbringing and the deeper experiences of life.

    Funny how Bobo never asked these questions before Bush was installed in the White House, and never found Chimp’s lack of character to be troubling.

  93. 93
    Samara Morgan says:

    @Mike G: For conservatives, intellect and policy knowledge are inferior to common sense and moral authority.
    conservatives are smart in the better way, the only way that really counts.
    They are GodSmart™
    WFB was a famous commonsense person.

  94. 94
    Samara Morgan says:

    @jake the snake: no, conservative elites must PRETEND to be someone Joe Sixpack wants to have a beer with.
    Willard cant do it.
    that is why the base hates him.

  95. 95
    MildlyAmusedRainbowPerson says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    And look….it is demographically and mathematically impossible for Romney to beat Obama in November if minorities vote for Obama in the same percentages as 2008.

    No, it isn’t. Sadly. Shift the white vote enough in key areas and watch how the electoral college goes with it. Moreover, you can have the same percentage of e.g. Hispanic voters going for Obama – but with a lower turnout in that demographic. Math matters.

  96. 96
    Samara Morgan says:

    @MildlyAmusedRainbowPerson: Romney needs 65% of the white vote.
    I think it cant be done. Even St. Ronnie only got 60% at the top of his game.
    a minimum of one third of whites vote democratic, carter to obama.
    That is a floor.
    that leaves only 66% of the white vote available to Romney.
    in 2008 McCain got 55% of the white vote. Obama got 43%.
    If even a few percent stay home for whatever reason, anti-mormon sentiment or anti-corporatist sentiment, Romney loses.
    8% of white voters SAY they will not vote for Romney because of anti-mormon sentiment. evah.
    that is a lot.
    Romney can’t afford to give up any white voters.

  97. 97
    Samara Morgan says:

    In 2004 Bush won with 55% of the white vote.
    What is the difference?
    minorities now make up 28% of the electorate.
    Women make up roughly half of the electorate. Even Ras has Obama over Romney 46/40 with women.
    I can do math.

    what bugs me is the horserace media won’t even discuss this.
    because electability is the only thing Romney has going for him.
    if there are questions about his mathematical electability, you will see the base running away from him like a scalded cat.

  98. 98
    MildlyAmusedRainbowPerson says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    The problem is that you aren’t doing the math. It all depends on turn-out among the various demographic groups, turn-out overall, the way vote total break down in the electoral college and so forth.

  99. 99
    Samara Morgan says:

    @MildlyAmusedRainbowPerson: nope.
    all that matters is turnout.
    if minorities turn out and vote in the same percentages as 2008, Romney will need an impossible 65% of the white vote to beat Obama.
    What we are currently seeing is that minorities will vote in the same percentages for Obama. There has been no falling off.
    the number of white voters in the electorate decreases as a percentage every year.
    Rpmney cannot afford to lose any white voters, because the GOP seems incapable of attracting minorities.
    i wunner why….

    But all we need to do is GOTV.

  100. 100
    MildlyAmusedRainbowPerson says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    Oh for heaven’s sake, think about it. Just saying the magic word “math” isn’t doing any math. We aren’t seeing any of the things you proclaim either. Polls show a loss of enthusiasm among e.g. Hispanics. And why on earth do you think Romney needs 65% of the white vote? Is it too much for you to actually offer some data here? You know – content for your argument?

  101. 101
    Samara Morgan says:

    @MildlyAmusedRainbowPerson: jaysus mary and joseph, ive only linked this a hundred times.
    in 2010 medved came out with No Political Future for an All White GOP.

    Why, then, did Bush win the White House while McCain suffered humiliating defeat? The answer is that in eight years the nonwhite portion of electorate soared — from 19 percent of voters to 26 percent of voters. Among these voters, Obama won by a 4-to-1 margin — easily wiping out McCain’s big advantage among white voters.
    __
    For two reasons, these numbers command close attention for anyone concerned about the Republican future.
    __
    First, there is no chance that white voters will ever again comprise 74 percent of the electorate. Most projections for 2012 suggest that self-identified whites will comprise 70 percent or, at most, 72 percent of those who cast presidential ballots.
    __
    Second, it would be hard for any Republican to improve significantly on McCain’s hefty 12-point margin among whites, which means that without an improved showing among Hispanics, blacks and Asians, GOP contenders will lose every time.
    __
    The math here is brutal and eye-opening. If Obama in 2012 wins the same percentage of the combined black, Asian and Hispanic vote that he won in 2008 (82 percent), then in order to beat him the GOP candidate would need to win an unimaginable 65 percent of all white voters — whose numbers include such stalwart Democratic constituencies as gays, atheists, Jews and union members.

    the only that has changed since then is that there are MOAR minorities in the electorate. From 26% in 2008 to 28% in 2012.

    Polls show a loss of enthusiasm among e.g. Hispanics.

    Link or GTFO.
    Heres my link.

  102. 102
    Samara Morgan says:

    @MildlyAmusedRainbowPerson: Blacks will vote for Obama at 92 to 97%. Hispanics will vote at 67% or above.
    from the polls.

    I’m the Liberal Cassandra™.
    Doomed to see the future clear, but like Callimachean Apollo promised meh, never to be believed.
    Cassandra’s Curse.
    ;)

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