Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.
The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
Prisoners of Azkaban
Monday, January 12, 2004
The Iron Law of Pinky and The Brain
Kevin notes some of the similarities between out of it presidents Bush II and Reagan.
Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill likened President Bush at Cabinet meetings to "a blind man in a room full of deaf people," according to excerpts Friday from a CBS interview.
O'Neill, who was fired by Bush in December 2002, also said the president did not ask him a single question during their first one-on-one meeting, which lasted an hour.
Reagan listened without comment while I [Jimmy Carter] covered each point. Some of them were very sensitive, involving such matters as the management of our nuclear forces....I described some top-secret agreements we had with a few other nations. Again, he did not comment or ask any questions. Some of the information was quite complex, and I did not see how he could possibly retain all of it merely by listening.
"What is it about Republican presidents, anyway?" asks Kevin.
It's an interesting question. I certainly can't see those stories being told about any Democratic president in a long, long time - you'd probably have to go back to the 1850s to find such uninvolved and uninterested Democrats at this level.
By contrast, the GOP has developed a remarkable tradition. Every Republican ticket for 30+ years seems to have been designed to follow an unstated law of ticket balancing. The names change, and the positions change, but the balance remains the same. Since the basic purpose of an American electoral ticket is to take over the world, we can call it the "Pinky and The Brain Law".
This is strictly a GOP law - it's hard to name a single clear example of a "Pinky" from any Democratic ticket in those years. There were catastrophic choices such as Eagleton and Ferraro, but they were bad picks for other reasons. I suspect the fact that the intelligentsia has for some time now been one of the party's base groups makes it extremely unlikely that any Bush II or Quayle analogue could be nominated on our side. Which makes me wonder, given the overt or covert but quite frequent GOP appeals to anti-intellectualism in this period, whether the Pinky and the Brain Law isn't a subtle appeal of sorts by the GOP to a core constituency of their own.