Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Memo To The New York Times: Isn’t a Basic Knowledge of American History a Requirement to Have a Column on Your Editorial Pages?

Is It That You Just Cannot Find a Conservative That Has That

As noted many times on this Forum, David Brooks is the current effort of the New York Times to try and present intelligent and reasoned Conservative opinion and analysis.  Note to the Times, It ain’t working.

Mr. Brooks recently did what is supposed to be deep philosophical thinking about the qualities that make a good President, prior, of course, to his finding later this year that Mitt Romney has those qualities.  Here is one of the things he says.

First, successful presidents tend to be emotionally secure. They have none of the social resentments and desperate needs that plagued men like Richard Nixon. Instead they were raised, often in an aristocratic family, with a sense that they were the natural leaders of the nation. They were infused, often at an elite prep school, with a sense of obligation and responsibility to perform public service.

Really Mr. Brooks?  Although one would expect that you would know who the modern Presidents have been, obviously that is information beyond your scope.  So here is a list of the recent men who have held that office.

Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, William Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. 

Now let’s see, which of those Presidents were educated at an elite prep school.  Ok, the two Bushes fit that description, the rest, good old fashioned lower income and middle income Americans.  And when the history of the period is written by objective historians (sorry Newt) the two Bushes will not be amongst the leading holders of the office of the Presidency.  George H. W. Bush will probably be treated better by history than he is now, but not much better.  George W. Bush’s reputation will go down and down as history learns more and more about his activities and policies.

Let’s see, the rest of the group does not fit Mr. Brook’s  characteristic, and Lyndon Johnson, at least on the domestic side, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were pretty successful Presidents.  And they accomplished that feat without the elite prep school education Mr. Brooks thinks is essential.  And going back into history, there is Jackson, Lincoln and Wilson. And most of all Harry S Truman. 

But all of that is beside the point.  Mr. Brooks is gearing up to anoint Mr. Romney as the most wonderful candidate ever, and his “elite” background which the rest of us are concerned about because Mr. Romney may be out of touch will probably take center stage in Mr. Brook’s coming effusive praise of Mr. Romney.  But Paul Krugman gets the last word on this issue.

 Did I mention that the last businessman to live in the White House was a guy named Herbert Hoover? (Unless you count former President George W. Bush.)

As usual Mr. Krugman says in a sentence what takes the rest of us several paragraphs.

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