This blog, and most political blogs, traffic in arguments. I give an opinion, make a point, argue. Those who come here generally agree with my overall thrust, some don’t. More points are made via comments. Arguments sometimes erupt. This is fine by me. To be totally honest, these arguments rarely change my views but on occasion I do learn something and prefer a debate to an echo chamber.
Most readers of political blogs self select. They go to the blogs they trust are generally “on their team.” I know I do. Since Obama came to power I’ve found it important to read more conservative points of view. Not because I’ve morphed into a conservative. I haven’t. Outside the “Pumasphere” intelligent conservatives have been the only ones analyzing Obama with any muscularity. I find their conclusions generally incorrect but the paths to those conclusions are usually thought-provoking and sometimes helpful. I’ve got no illusions about this practice. Most of those engaged in political debates are, in fact, engaged with their side only. Every one is looking out for the gotcha moment, including me.
This brings me to my thought for the night. Is consensus even possible anymore? I am not a proponent of false consensus, a tactic both Bush and Obama have elevated. Of course, I believe in reaching across the aisle as long as I get my way! A bipartisan bromide is followed shortly by an insult. Neither side trusts the other. This distrust is earned. Republicans and Democrats have proven themselves to be unworthy of trust. Only a fool would trust these people. The level of untreated sewage we are subjected to from our politicians is extraordinary. Almost none of our alleged leaders ever actually leads.
Obama promised to heal our divisions. Given the narrative of his 2008 campaign his failure on this score is epic. There is no historical precedent here, no instance in which what a candidate telegraphed during a campaign and what happened after he won are so antithetical. Who Obama said he was has no relationship whatsoever to who he is as President. This can’t be blamed on intransigent Republicans. Obama said the oceans would start to recede upon his ascendency, not Sarah Palin, not Fox News.
It’s doubtful Romney has greatness in him. At least I see no signs of it. But so far he’s not running on potential greatness. Should he win he’ll have to run away from some promises, he won’t have to run from his entire narrative. Should Obama win again he’ll be in the same vice he’s in now. Once again he’s running on his alleged wisdom and greatness. Tom Hanks tells us so.
If there is anything that recommends Romney over Obama – and there is precious little – it’s that Romney does not evoke fainting spells or any other infantilism. No one is passionate about Romney. It’s possible he’d be a President who is simply a President.
Sadly, we need more at this point in our history. We won’t get it. Ironically, Obama has provoked a situation that demands a consensus builder and a healer. All we needed in 2008 was a true change. We did not get that either. Now, again ironically, we need the kind of leader Obama promised to be but wasn’t. Need is the operative word. Not want. Not it would be nice if…We’ve rarely needed the great man (or woman) but somehow when we did, we got him. Not this time.
My diagnosis is not flip or overdramatized. Things will change in the next 5 years. Things as they are and have been cannot last. So they won’t. The question is whether or not our government will be up to this change. Currently it’s not. The people aren’t either. We get the leadership we deserve. Right now our ’leadership’ consists of Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, Rush Limbaugh, Bill Maher and assorted other small people. We need a big person, animated by our greatest ideas. We need a leader, a consensus builder, and a healer to get to the other shore. Not 1 out of 3, not 2 out of 3. We need all three. We, the people, have produced and accepted a choice between a cult leader with a dwindling cult, and a Sam’s Club manager. This is very bad news.