January 10, 2008

"My leaning toward Obama has a lot to do with his even temperament, his ability to listen, his powerful persuasive faculties and his judgment."

"My leaning toward Obama has a lot to do with his even temperament, his ability to listen, his powerful persuasive faculties and his judgment. Those are the qualities I look for in a president."

Andrew Sullivan talks about picking a President the way a lot of people talk about picking a Supreme Court Justice. I say things like that about picking a Supreme Court Justice — but only because the President has the appointment power and the President has been elected by the people. That is, ideology matters in a judge, and that's why the President can, should, and does take it into account when choosing a nominee for the Court, but as long as that nominee has the neutral credentials — judicial temperament, openness to argument, high skill in judgment and written expression — confirmation is appropriate. But how can we say the same about a President?

12 comments:

Mortimer Brezny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mortimer Brezny said...

Hmm. The agenda of a President is often determined by unforseen crises. We need good judgment. Not ambition, narcisissm, or power-hunger. Or a copiously dull resume.

Pogo said...

Sullivan here was writing that he agrees with the statement "What I don't want is a partisan warrior for whom political power and public service have become all but indistinguishable."

But Sullivan had already said Obama "has plans", in fact "Mind-numbingly detailed plans," he wrote

According to a recent Boston Herald story, Obama supports the usual left liberal agenda completely:
**Opposes school vouchers.
**Wants new school construction.
**Improving teacher pay.
**Pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
**A new international global warming partnership.
**Would require that 25% of electricity come from renewable sources by 2025.
**A new mandatory national health plan.
**Citizenship for illegal immigrants already living in the U.S.
**Supports a plan to immediately begin troop withdrawal from Iraq.
**Opposes privatization of Social Security.
**Supports repeal of tax cuts for upper income earners to pay for health care.

Further, and more worrisome, Obama has blamed terrorism on "the underlying struggle" between "worlds of plenty and worlds of want" He goes on: "I know, I have seen, the desperation and disorder of the powerless," Obama writes, "how it twists the lives of children on the streets of Jakarta or Nairobi in much the same way as it does the lives of children on Chicago's South Side, how narrow the path is for them between humiliation and untrammeled fury, how easily they slip into despair and violence." (emphasis mine)
What, one is forced to ask, is the plan based on the belief that one of the world's richest families spawned an anti-West fascist because he wasn't rich enough?
Appeasement?
Welfare checks for jihadis?
What was his answer for Chicago's South Side, when he had the chance there?

This is the very definition of the partisan warrior Sullivan says he rejects.

I call bullshit.

Alan said...

And Camille Paglia says:

"...I plan to vote for Barack Obama in the Pennsylvania primary because he is a rational, centered personality who speaks the language of idealism and national unity. Obama has served longer as an elected official than Hillary. He has had experience as a grass-roots activist, and he is also a highly educated lawyer who will be a quick learner in office. His international parentage and childhood, as well as his knowledge of both Christianity and Islam, would make him the right leader at the right time. And his wife Michelle is a powerhouse."

George said...

...Mr. Obama comes across as a vitamin-starved Adlai Stevenson."

And as for the sour grapes, Ms. Paglia....."Sen. Hillary Clinton won working-class neighborhoods and less-affluent rural areas. Sen. Barack Obama won the college towns and the gentrified neighborhoods of more affluent communities. Put another way, Mrs. Clinton won the beer drinkers, Mr. Obama the white wine crowd. And there are more beer drinkers than wine swillers in the Democratic Party."

So says Karl Rove, pundit.

Middle Class Guy said...

Ideology is important...

What happens when ideology trumps justice? What happens when a judge makes decisions based upon personal belief over all other considerations?

Just asking.

Simon said...

MiddleClassGuy, I think by "ideology," what's meant is judicial philosophy (which you can think of as an ideology insofar as it encapsulates an idea of what law is and what judges ought to do with it) rather than a political ideology. That is, it's an ideology of process rather than an ideology of outcomes that is appropriate (and perhaps even necessary, see Republican Party of Minnesota v. White, 536 U.S. 765, 777-8 (2002)) for judges.

Cedarford said...

Sullivan has joined others in thinking that the only skill that counts in a President is the ability to appoint judges since Judges are above other branches of Gov't and the best a President can be is someone that has the qualities of a judge. Which he thinks Obama has because he has that "judge-worthiness" about him.

I would argue that I want a President that understands his Constitutional duties, is a true leader, and possesses the executive experience and ability to discharge those Constitutional Duties well. Notably duties of Commander in Chief, foreign relations with other sovereign states, relations with Congress and The States.

Palladian said...

Advice to Obama: if, in any circumstance, you find Andrew Sullivan leaning toward you, the best thing to do is lean away from him.

If that doesn't work, try spilling your drink in his lap.

Richard Fagin said...

What to look for in a President, I think was best expressed by Lewis Grizzard shortly after the 1980 election. "Ronald Reagan, Ronald Smagan. This country finally decides to elevate an actor to President and waits until the Duke is unavailable. Kinda makes you sick to your stomach, doesn't it, pilgrim?"

He did have some good things to say about Henry Fonda (as President in 'Fail Safe') and Charles Bronson ('Death Wish') in the same column.

If the bunch of you go back and read "Real Men Don't Eat Quiche" you'll pick the right candidate, and it ain't Obama.

Chip Ahoy said...

My leaning toward Obama is his ears. They're adorable. Can you imagine, with ears like that, the field-day cartoonists will have world-wide? Rivals Charles, himself.

Revenant said...

"he is the antithesis of Clinton -- a man who used emotion for effect and idled while our national security weakened. [...] Bush doesn't need to elbow in on others' responsibilities or achievements."
-- Andrew Sullivan, describing George Bush

"undeniable charm, good humor and geniality... unassuming"
-- Andrew Sullivan, describing George Bush

"Wars require thinkers and strategists and complex minds. But above all they require an ability to focus, to stay on course, to make quick and difficult decisions, and to manage a complex political-military bureaucracy well. In all these respects, we have the right man in the job. [...] Again, Truman comes to mind."
-- Andrew Sullivan, describing George Bush

"shallow, monstrous, weak, and petty"
-- Andrew Sullivan, describing George Bush

Does anything more really need to be said about Sullivan's ability to judge people's character and temperament?