The Corner


Commenting on my column for Forbes this week, a reader notes that I quote David Brooks–and then the reader answers him:

’Columnist David Brooks of The New York Times begs to differ. “[G]overnance,” he insists, “requires acquired skills. Most of all, it requires prudence….How is prudence acquired? Through experience….Sarah Palin has many virtues….[But] she has not been engaged in national issues.”’

The argument put forth by Mr. Brooks is chiefly interesting in that it is self-refuting.  I could reverse the formula:  “Joe Biden has much experience in national issues, but he has never exhibited the virtue of prudence.”  The virtue of prudence is best developed by practice and experience, but it is absurd to argue that there is a special *kind* of prudence that only applies to national issues and which can therefore only be developed by experience with them.  Someone who has learned prudence as a citizen, a mayor and a governor will carry that trait into other roles.  Someone who *hasn’t* obviously doesn’t magically acquire it by spending decades in the world’s most over-rated debating society.  Biden’s vaunted foreign policy experience consists chiefly of being wrong on every major foreign policy issue of the past 30 years with the notable except of his support of the Iraq war resolution – which his *running mate* has branded the worst foreign policy decision of the past 30 years. 


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