The Anchoress had an interesting post at Ride on, King Obama! – UPDATED
I suspect that what Obama wanted was to be the King, not the President. The King’s role is largely ceremonial. In time of national tragedy the King goes before the camera and says, “this is very sad.” If he can assign blame on a perceived enemy he does so, and then he steps aside and retires to his amusements while those actually in charge clean up the mess and determine how to prevent future messes. Everyone loves the King, defers to the King, rushes to do for the King, but the King -who tends to get bored and distracted by the dry business of actually governing- is responsible for very little, and most are just as glad of it.
Read it all.
Now the interesting question is if the Obama King view of the world is actually how things work.
I often scold my fellow conservatives for being too concerned about term limits, what individual politcos get , and the size of Congressional staff. In fact I sometimes wonder if this creating a worse problem.
One blog I enjoy is Unqualified Reservations . I have an uneasy feeling that what he says in his post from 2008 Sarah Palin: the proletarian candidate is how it might really work. It's worth quoting this part in length:
..........You see, the so-called "Democrats" (whom, here at UR, we call the Inner Party) and their purported opposition, the supposed "Republicans" (or Outer Party) have completely different beliefs about the nature, purpose, and function of the office known as the "Presidency," for which they appear to contend. As usual, the IP is right and the OP is wrong.
To the IP (obviously, also the Eloi-Morlock Party), the so-called "President," ie, the player whom callers help select in USG's quadrennial reality show, is hardly a temporal position at all. It is really more of a spiritual office. The Roman pontifex maximus is a fine analogy. I also admire the phrase "bully pulpit," which I feel could be used a good bit more.
For the IP, for example, the ideal "President" would be Nelson Mandela. But there are obstacles - St. Mandela, for instance, is not an American citizen. At least not in the strict technical sense of the law. Fortunately, our evolving standards of justice may at some point in the future, when we are more spiritually advanced, enable us to overcome this barbarous discrimination. When Archbishop Obama says that "the walls between the countries with the most and the countries with the least cannot stand," perhaps he actually means it. Who knows, with such a great man? Certainly a good first step would be for a Federal court to realize that Mexicans are actually, in fact, Americans. (It's not like they were born in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia or Antarctica.)
But obviously the most sacrilegious possible desecration is one in which an actual, practicing Prole is appointed, by some awful cosmic mistake, to the hallowed post of "President." It's basically like having a porn star elected Pope. Even as candidate vice-Pope, it's way too far. The purpose of the White House is to teach the Proles that it's wrong to be a Prole, and they need to stop. Now. I mean, duh. Ideally, the LORD would let America know at once of her mistake, and send Hurricane Gustav straight up the Mississippi to demolish the polyester-Americans and their so-called "convention." (Which, frankly, could be mistaken for a multi-level marketing conference. At least if all you look at is the hair.)
Meanwhile, the OP (or Prole Party) has a completely different view of the "White House." To the PP, the "President" is the CEO of America.
This illusion can only be sustained by people who either (a) have no idea what Washington is or how it works, or (b) do, but conceal it for their own political benefit. Collectively these individuals are known as "conservatives," and they make up the right side of your radio dial.
(The radio cannot be adjusted beyond this built-in band. But it can be turned off. Please do not vote for, contribute to, or otherwise support the Outer Party. Outer Party politics is not effective against the Inner Party. Please forward this message to all your Avon subscribers.)
The truth is that the White House changes its entire nature as an organ of government when it changes between Inner and Outer Party control. An Inner Party presidency is simply a different institution from an Outer Party presidency. They are apples and oranges.
When the Inner Party is in, the Presidency is a vestigial organ. It would be a fun experiment to actually abolish the White House for four years. The results would be more or less the same. Every agency in Washington would function not only just as well without the existence of the President, but in fact much better.
For example, my mother was at DOE in the Clinton era. In the renewables area - she did a good bit of work for Joe Romm. Once I asked her what Sched Cs (political appointees) did under Clinton, and she said: "they got a nice office, and they were told to work on whatever they liked." Indeed the main difference between Inner Party candidates is (a) whether or not they can win, and (b) the set of people among whom they will distribute the Plum Book.
A ceremonial presidency is perfectly consistent with Inner Party values, which stress that "politics" is bad and "public policy" is good, and the two should be stored separately - for more or less the same reason that sewage and wine are not shipped in the same tanker truck. As so often, the IP is exactly right about this. Except for the fact that the word "democracy" occupies the highest possible position on the mental totem pole of the Inner Party mind. If I could explain this, I might still be a believer.
(Moreover, the contradiction itself is a nice bit of misdirection. It points the marks away from inquiring into the nature, ingredients, and origins of the sausage called "policy." But I digress.)
When an Outer Party man becomes "President," he soon finds that all his efforts are devoted to solving the essentially unsolvable problem of preventing his name from becoming a historic byword for pure, infamous villainy. Maybe not quite like Hitler or Attila the Hun. But certainly like Mussolini, Richard II, Nixon or Ivan the Terrible.
The basic problem of the Outer Party in the White House is that, with minor exceptions such as the Pentagon, its mission is essentially one of preventing the rest of Washington from doing its job. Or at least what it thinks its job is. The military, of course, is an Outer Party shop, and can always be sent on bloody, expensive and counterproductive ticket-punching adventures. The rest of our permanent government, the civil service proper, is Inner Party to the bone. In fact, perhaps the best way to describe the Inner Party is as the party of the permanent civil service.
Which holds far more power than the White House. The While House can prevail or even contend only in the vast minority of conflicts with the permanent civil service. It is not good for the polls. When an Outer Party presidency's approval sinks below 40% or so, it is defeated, and the agencies he supposedly "leads" ignore the "President" and all his handlers, cronies and contributors. Since polls are a function of public opinion, public opinion is fabricated by the press, schools and universities, and the latter are perma-pwned by the Inner Party, the resulting barbecue is too inevitable to be really entertaining. It's best just to play along.
Example: for most of 2008, GWB might as well have been the prime minister of Namibia for all the influence he's exerted over US foreign policy. Cheney probably wishes he was the prime minister of Namibia....
Maybe Obama just knows how things work? As I have mentioned before conservatives think such ideas as term limits, Congress meeting just once a year and being "part time" etc are grand ideas. I am sure the possible "real government" thinks likewise.
Monday, March 14, 2011
The Anchoress had an interesting post at Ride on, King Obama! – UPDATED