by Bernie Quigley – Daily
This is maybe – to paraphrase T.S. Eliot – the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but with a movie star who looks like a President actually running for President, and with a people so easily deceived and the tenacious will to self-governance which made us a free people in the first place worn so thin and threadbare, that we willingly select the mirage rather than the thing in itself.
There is no reason to think that Fred Thompson would not be a good President. Anything is possible in The Land of the Free. Here in
Being a Senator, like being a Supreme Court justice, should be an end in itself. It is a different task than Governor or President, which are indeed management jobs.
Senators discuss the different properties and aspects of issues and therefore advise the manager, and 20 years of doing it doesn’t make an advisor a good manager: It makes her or him a better advisor and Senator. In fact, according to the principles of Myers-Briggs, as you become increasingly better at being an advisor, you become increasingly worse at being a manager as each task uses opposite psychological functions (which might be why John McCain is such a poor manager).
If someone still felt unfulfilled after a career of Senator, s/he might try Chaired Professor. Both are "introverted" positions and go to rumination and thoughtfulness. President, like district manager of Walmart, CEO of Hathaway Industries or Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, are "extroverted" positions. They go to management and taking action. They live on different sides of the river: That is why Eisenhower can’t paint; that is why Picasso can’t tally his check book.
Until Eisenhower handed the reins over to John F. Kennedy, Senators were not usually considered to be in the First Tier of Presidential Potentials. But most today who are presenting themselves to us to be Presidential material - Dodd, Clinton, Biden, Obama, Edwards, McCain, Thompson and Brownback - are hoping to take the Senatorial route as a short cut to the Presidency and not focusing on their task at hand.
And the three front-running Democrats have so little time between them as Senators that together, they wouldn’t even reach the venerable level of one Robert C. Byrd. Or even the decent and highly respected level of a Jim Jeffords.
Perhaps this is why the discussion of the
Each has only entered the Senate as short-cut route to the Presidency. I was astonished a few months back as the current Panic Primary got underway when the most important Democratic fund raiser here in the North Country of New England who fully supports Senator Clinton, said she should wait a few months to enter to " . . . get some stuff done" in the Senate first. A Washington Post columnist made the same comment about Senator Obama.
That’s how you want to advise your kids if they want to be President: Get some stuff done first.
Governor of a teensy, unpopulated state or one reserved for retired people (like
Being an auntie of a former President or other relative does not qualify you to be President in the First Tier. Being of an ethnicity that has not yet been President does not necessarily prepare you for the Presidency. Being a movie star or a singer or a hockey player does not prepare you at all to be President, but there is nothing to indicate that these people would not be good Presidents.
According to tradition and lore, a First Tier candidate is a Governor of a state with more than say three million people in it (larger than say Arkansas, New Mexico or Vermont). That would be a state like
In the current crop of Presidential contenders in both parties, only Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, is qualified in the First Tier.
There are other Democrats available who might be part of the public discussion as First Tier candidates but oddly enough are not in the race. Wesley Clark, who leads the Democrats in discussion of
Sestak, the new representative from Pennsylvania and a three-star Admiral, was shining on Meet the Press this past Sunday, speaking in opposition to neocon apparatchik Richard Pearle and right wing nut job Tom DeLay staging a comeback. Sestak, like Clark, was heavily supported by The Fighting Dems, Daily Kos and the web community and is representative of the new spirit which rose to Congress out of the '06 race, featuring new people with new ideas like Carol Shea-Porter of NH and Jim Webb of Virginia.
Sestak could well be the ascending leader of this new group; Wes Clark the cultural father.
Other First Tier candidates include Kathleen Sebelius, Governor of Kansas, Ed Rendell, Governor of Pennsylvania, John Lynch, Governor of New Hampshire, Mike Easley, Governor of North Carolina.
There are many others but the MSM has not expressed much interest in these people who constitute today a Best and Brightest listing of the Democratic Party. Nor has the Democratic Party expressed much interest in them.
Perhaps it is not too late. There is still a year to go and marketing in the real world doesn’t start until September, its arc rising to Thanksgiving. Maybe First Tier will arise then. Maybe we can draft new people into the race when the leadership crisis is more acutely felt.
Recently, Zbigniew Brzezinski, has written that the misbegotten invasion of
But it is only a side bar to our real problems; the rise of
Only a First Tier candidate is capable of handling these situations. To date, the Democratic candidates are in denial of the
I would add another category to Presidential Contenders: Anomalies and Phenomenon. They appear in periods of change, and perhaps we are there now.
That would be people with a few billion bucks like Warren Buffett, Mike Bloomberg and Donald Trump. All three have shown interest in a party run either in support of a unique, new candidate or in support of a new political party.
Mike Bloomberg, mayor of New York, has clearly stated that if this Presidential race descends into mischief, and there are indications that it is doing so, he will put up a half billion of his own money to run a third candidate in March of next year. And Buffet has appeared as a primary supporter of Arnold Schwarzenegger, agent of "post partisan" politics.
The panic we are seeing in the early race - the millions of dollars sent to candidates whose generation and influence has passed and the press’s obsession with novelty - may be a symptom of an end game of partisan politics as we have come to understand it in the post-war period. The Republican Party and the Democratic Party may have both reached their limits. By any corporate marketing standards, there is opening now for new products. Perhaps what we are seeing is the end of the old parties and the rise of something new. We will find out in 2008.
I would like to see Joe Sestak and/or Wes Clark seriously consider entering the Presidential Race in ‘08. In September maybe, when the current crop of entertainers are finishing their summer rerun season. The presence of Clark and Sestak in the race may call in more First Tier candidates in both parties, and that will be good for the country.
It is the Brute awakened in the Republican Party that has fostered the barbaric initiatives that have shamed our country in recent years, like the repeal of habeas corpus, the recommendation of advanced torture strategies and the disgrace at Abu Ghraib. But that Brute has been consistently appeased by the submissive and accomidating Congress of Peeps – particularly in the Senate: A few of whom have shown themselves to be so astonishingly detached from their actions in enabling the Brute that they intend now to run for President.
Perhaps it is only a man of honor and ability of the caliber of Clark or Sestak who can retrieve us.