The Corner

Long Game, Or Empty Suit?

A shamefully cynical reader:

Mr. Derbyshire — It’s no long term strategy. BHO is an empty suit. He’s enjoyed a remarkable string of good luck. He faced the weakest of challengers in his single Senate race only because the Illinois Republican party imploded as a result of scandal, both criminal and personal.

He’s left no paper trail, not through brilliant long-range planning, but because he abandoned law for a career that plays more to his strength, ‘community organizer’ and lecturer. This is a man who likes talking to groups of people. And many people think he’s good at it. But all this talking leaves him with no documentary evidence.

    •  Positive spin: He’s like Socrates, speaking the Truth.

    •  Negative spin: He’s a speech-making savant with no administrative or strategic skills.

His big themes are Change Hope and Unity … I suspect that after he’s elected, we’ll hear much less about Change and Unity and a lot more about Hope. As in, “I Hope this doesn’t end in a huge disaster. I Hope he doesn’t wreck the economy. I Hope he’s not too overwhelmed by the complexity and horror of the world. I Hope I survive this administration.”

BTW — prepare now for the national orgy of self-congratulations starting with His inauguration and climaxing with His first State of the Union. After that, it all goes downhill rather quickly. Buy gold.

[Me]   Well, it’s true that lots of very worthy and inspirational persons left no paper trail: Socrates, Confucius, and the founders of a couple of religions …

I’d feel a kind of sneaking admiration for anyone who had played such a long game as I suggested. I fear my correspondent is right, though. There was no long game; just a natural disinclination to organize thoughts into words and sentences that read well on paper, and a growing awareness that he was really, really good at delivering the kind of gassy, content-free speeches that so many people — inexplicably to me — like to sit and listen to. A wise man plays to his strengths.

As for buying gold — what else would you expect a Ron Paul supporter to do?

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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