Friday, January 22, 2016


I'm not in the mood to do a detailed critique of the new National Review editorial denouncing Donald Trump, but I'm amused by this bit:
Indeed, Trump’s politics are those of an averagely well-informed businessman: Washington is full of problems; I am a problem-solver; let me at them. But if you have no familiarity with the relevant details and the levers of power, and no clear principles to guide you, you will, like most tenderfeet, get rolled....

Since 1984, when Jesse Jackson ran for president with no credential other than a great flow of words, both parties have been infested by candidates who have treated the presidency as an entry-level position. They are the excrescences of instant-hit media culture. The burdens and intricacies of leadership are special; experience in other fields is not transferable. That is why all American presidents have been politicians, or generals.
Jesse Jackson shouldn't even be brought into this -- love him or hate him, you can't deny that he's been a significant political actor for decades, even if he's never held office -- but beyond that, no, the desire for a candidate who treats high political office "as an entry-level position" is not something America picked up from the "instant-hit media culture," it's something we picked up from decades of right-wingers denouncing "career politicians" and proclaiming that what America needs is more "citizen legislators," many of them CEOs, because CEOs will run government "more like a business."

Here, for instance, is Rich Lowry in, er, National Review gushing about CEO and political neophyte Ron Johnson when he was (successfully) campaigning to make U.S. senator his first elective office:
... Johnson is an outsider’s outsider in an outsider’s year. The head of an Oshkosh manufacturing firm, he talks to the Chamber crowd as one of them. The schedule that is e-mailed out to reporters doesn’t say Ron Johnson will be at a given event, but that “Oshkosh manufacturer and U.S. Senate candidate Ron Johnson” will be at a given event.

“Maybe what we really need in this country,” he tells the Chamber crowd, “are citizen-legislators. People who have led a normal life, an ordinary life, a full life. Who had a full career, raised a family, drove their kids to school, attended their events.”

“I’m just a guy from Oshkosh, a husband, a father,” he continues, and says of his proposition that we need more citizen-legislators, “the test is on Tuesday.”
Here's National Review's John J. Miller lauding Michigan governor Rick Snyder, another CEO who made a high office his first political job, as "the Turnaround Governor"; here's Miller's NR colleague Jim Geraghty, early last spring, floating a trial balloon for a possible presidential run by Snyder.

And if you have no political experience and you want to make the presidency your first political job, and your name isn't Trump? Well, here's NR's Henry Olsen on Ben Carson:
Dr. Ben Carson is doing something no one has done in decades, combine a values-laden conservative message with a soft-spoken, humble persona. Others who have sought Reagan’s mantle have emulated elements of the Gipper’s approach, but none have spoken the language of freedom and the morality of the Bible with such eloquence and calm until now.

He talks about moral decline without the rancor or anger that typified other past favorites of the party’s religious conservative faction. He talks about the loss of American freedom without the sense of foreboding and doom that characterize all too many who seek to lead the tea-party wing. He talks about fiscal restraint and tax cuts without seeming to care more about numbers than people...

Carson is as close to unifying all wings of conservatism as anyone since George W. Bush in 2000.
But it's CEO experience that conservatives value most of all. Who cares if you know jack about the issues? Your liberal, career-politician opponent never met a payroll.

Michelle Malkin, National Review, 4/13/12: "President Obama never met a payroll in his life, but that hasn’t stopped him from dictating what business owners across the country should and shouldn’t be doing."

Avik Roy, National Review, 7/24/13: "Even worse, Obama’s public policies betray the prejudices of someone who has never met a payroll, served a customer, or complied with a federal regulation."

And then there's this from two CEOs, Lee Habeeb and Mike Leven, in National Review in October 2013:
It is people like us who think about how to fill ATMs. And as anyone with an iota of common sense knows, it is harder to fill ATMs than empty them. Filling them takes patience, sacrifice, hard work, and -- dare I say the word? -- love.

It is the people who believe in big government -- and the big bureaucracies that go with it -- who endlessly ponder how to spend that money. Most of them have never met a payroll, or even run a hotdog stand.
You told us that America could be saved by CEOs who know squat about politics. You said political experience doesn't help, and is actually a liability. So reap what you've sown.


Frank Wilhoit said...

Here is the syllogism.

MINOR PREMISE (unstated): Trump is going to lose.
MAJOR PREMISE: Trump is not a True Conservative.
CONCLUSION: True Conservatism is the thing that would not lose, if the experiment were ever actually conducted.

Ten Bears said...

Bankruptcy is good business. Must be, look at how much money Romney and Trump have made going bankrupt. Over and over again.

Nefer said...

I am so sick to death of the idiotic notion that a CEO or business model is what is needed to run the country. Elected officials are supposed to do what is best for the people they represent. The business model is exactly the opposite. The CEO does not "represent" his or her employees. He is their boss and anyone not performing in such a way as to raise the bottom line must be ruthlessly cut loose.

Joey Blau said...

Uh.. Who has been a candidate from the "left" with zero political office experience?

Gerald Parks said...

Here's National Review's John J. Miller lauding Michigan governor Rick Snyder, another CEO who made a high office his first political job, as "the Turnaround Governor";

THE same guy that has spent the last 2 years poisoning 100,000 American citizens??????

The same Guy that REMOVED the ELECTED officials and replace them with the "Manager" that orchestrated the poisoning of a US city with 100,000 citizens???

All done to save money!!! Well ... THAT is the justification given to WE THE PEOPLE.

Let's NOT look to closely at the response to a Legionaries disease outbreak ... 80 + sickened 10 confirmed deaths. Oh ... it looks to be directly related to the public water issues that has ALREADY poisoned a US city of 100,000 citizens.

Who needs to fear ISIS when we have domestic erahhhh Republic governance?

Feud Turgidson said...

I seem to have stumbled into an Echo And The Bunnymen tribute.

Boy, things sure fell apart quick for Rick: a year ago, there was a lot of pundigab about how he'd be pretty much the perfect outsider POTUS candidate with cross-over appeal. And the whole time, he was in the lab recreating Katrina in order to form a more perfect shitstorm of evidence why outsider CEOs are so routinely crap at running democratically-elected governments.

Professor Chaos said...

Both parties? I can remember Steve Forbes, Ross Perot, Herman Cain,Pat Buchanan. Dr Carson, Fiorina and Trump running to make POTUS their first elected office. I can't think of a single Democrat who fits that description,

Professor Chaos said...

Oh,wait. I forgot All Sharpton! Never mind.

Steve M. said...

Again, a guy who's been steeped in politics for decades, whatever you think of him.

Dark Avenger said...

Jesse Jackson, back in 1984 also comes to mind. Hell, even fringe candidate Shirley Chisom was an elected Congresswoman when she ran in 1972.

Feud Turgidson said...

NR may have sploogied Trump before considering all the pertinent facts:

Hey, Sparklepants: turns out The Donald's white supremacist bona fides go deeper than even NR founder Bill Buckley's! The Family Trump bigot history is so Americana, it could be given it's own wing in the Woody Guthrie Museum.

Greg said...

Can't let voters off the hook for the success of the "citizen legislator" idea. Candidates like Trump and Perot are manifestations of the common blowhardism one sees in the heartland. Decades of media pandering -- in product advertising as well as political rhetoric and journalistic slant -- have taken a toll.

swkellogg said...

If Trump doesn't use this rag as an opportunity to bolster his outsider bona fides I'd be amazed.

Either the folks at NR are secretly in the bag for Trump or are even dumber than I thought.

I opt for the latter.

Unknown said...

"I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University." - William F. Buckley