Friday, January 13, 2012


From today's David Brooks column I learned the following:

* Great presidents "tend to be emotionally secure" -- except for, say, Lincoln, who was clinically depressed.

* A great president is likely to have been raised "in an aristocratic family" -- although greats Brooks-designated greats such as Eisenhower, Lincoln, and Reagan weren't born aristocrats.

* Great presidents tend to have "experienced crushing personal setbacks" -- except for, say, Reagan, whose worst setback was that a character he played in a movie had his legs amputated.

* Great presidents are usually "experienced political insiders" -- except for Ike, who'd never previously held elective office.

* "[G]reat presidents tend to have superb political judgment" -- which is another way of saying that people who are good at being politicians ... are good at being politicians. Thank you, Professor Tautology.


Anonymous said...

Why do you say Reagan was a great president? What did he do that makes you put him in that category?

BH said...

HD's comment above dovetails with mine: one thing that one doesn't learn from Brooks' load of pablum is which Presidents are included by the undisclosed definition of "great" he uses. I suspect he has no such definition, but would (unlike SteveM, I suspect, and certainly unlike me) definitely call Reagan "great" regardless. When you're operating without definitions and just talking BS like Brooks, any President can qualify.

Steve M. said...

Sorry, I wasn't clear. Brooks makes these sweeping generalizations and Brooks describes certain presidents as great. Reagan is on his list, not mine.

Steve M. said...

See the tweak in paragraph #3.

c u n d gulag said...

I feel safe in saying this:

"Great American Presidents, like great columnists in America, are never born in Canada."

I'm surprised his ass isn't as wide as the Lincoln Tunnel, after all of the crap he's pulled out of it to use in columns.

Anonymous said...

Rick Perry and other Repubs are almost saying the same thing. They're saying these things need to come out now, or they're going to come out in the general election.

I think Palin was trying to say to Hannity the other day that, if these things come out now, the American public will be weary of them by the time the general election hits.

Will Divide said...

Not to quibble, but Ike spent something like two years chain smoking 16-hour days in a bunker in Gibraltar planning the invasion of Europe, while managing the egos of every civilian and military heavy-hitter in the U.S. and Britain. He is without question the greatest politician by far the armed services ever produced.

c u n d gulag said...

Will Divide,
Don't forget the French, too.

Charles De Gualle had as much ego as anyone, and I include Winnie, FDR, Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini, if not even more - and he outlived them all, too!