Goodbye, Anti-intellectualism, Brains are back!
After eight years of proud incuriosity and anti-intellectualism, we now have a leader who values nuance and careful thought.
What Obama's election means, above all, is that brains are back. Sense and pragmatism and the idea of considering-all-the-options are back. Studying one's enemies and thinking through strategic problems are back. Cultural understanding is back. Yahooism and jingoism and junk science about global warming and shabby legal reasoning about torture are out. The national culture of flag-pin shallowness that guided our foreign policy is gone with the wind. And for this reason as much as any, perhaps I can renew my pride in being an American.
...after nearly eight years of a president who could barely form a coherent sentence, much less a strategic thought. We can finally go back to respecting logic and reason and studiousness under a president who doesn't seem to care much about what is "left," "right" or ideologically pure. Or what he thinks God is saying to him. A guy who keeps religion in its proper place—in the pew.
One tragedy of the Bush administration is the amount of American brainpower and talent that went unused, the options that went unconsidered, because they were seen to lack ideological purity.
Scott Horton write in the The Daily Beast:
In October 13, Kristol’s criticism reached the boiling point. “Fire the campaign,” he thundered. “What McCain needs to do is junk the whole thing and start over. Shut down the rapid responses, end the frantic e-mails, bench the spinning surrogates, stop putting up new TV and Internet ads every minute. In fact, pull all the ads—they’re doing no good anyway. Use that money for televised town halls and half-hour addresses in prime time.” Among the McCain tactics that had failed, he acknowledged, were the very ones he had advocated just two weeks earlier.
As I reported previously, Kristol was instrumental in convincing the McCain campaign to select Sarah Palin, and he stood tenaciously by his candidate. He used his position as a media figure—at the Weekly Standard, on Fox News, and in his valued column at the New York Times—to advance his vision of the campaign’s interests.
This raises an obvious question for The New York Times: should Bill Kristol’s contract as an opinion columnist be renewed when it runs up at year’s end? There is no problem with the conservative viewpoint advanced in his pieces—he was after all hired as a replacement for a conservative voice, William Safire. Still, the Times must be concerned about Kristol’s intervention in the campaign he was writing about. Simply put, the pundit meddled in the campaign he was commenting on.
Personal comment: Yes, this is the same Bill Kristol who so expertly predicted on December 17, 2006 on Fox News Sunday, "If [Hillary Clinton] gets a race against John Edwards and Barack Obama, she's going to be the nominee. Gore is the only threat to her ... Barack Obama is not going to beat Hillary Clinton in a single democratic primary. I'll predict that right now."
Shouldn't be much of a loss for the NYT and maybe the RNC will bar him for life.
Scott Horton again, this time in Harper's: