The Corner

Re: Tomasky on Rudy

I got this email over the weekend in response to a post:

I am somewhat pleased by the fact that very few of the frontrunners in either party are particularly likeable.  We have had 7 elections in a row in which we were supposed to care about how much we “liked” the candidates:  Have dinner with Ronald Reagan, go fishing with Bush, Sr., go to McDonald’s with Bill Clinton; eat barbecue with Bush, Jr.  And we should realize by now that there is no relationship between whether any of these guys was likeable and whether they were good Presidents.  (For my money, I thought Reagan and Clinton were good Presidents, but it would be totally cool to go fishing with Bush Sr.)

Now we have a group of folks who aren’t particularly fun to hang out with or who can be downright mean:  Clinton, Giuliani, McCain, Dodd, Tancredo.  Edwards, Biden and Gingrich can get on your nerves.  (Admittedly, Obama and Huckabee are likeable.)Good.We’re not electing a dad or a mom or a best friend.  We’re electing someone who is supposed to:  show up on time and sober every day, even when he’s on vacation; work his (or her) tail off; juggle an enormous amount of responsibility; use good judgment with little information or time to respond; appoint reasonably competent people to wield enormous (and sometimes lifetime) power; engage in hardball political negotiations with a sometimes-hostile and sometimes-stupid Congress.I want a competent President who uses his head and who, at least occasionally, sees things “my way”.  I don’t care if he or she is a jerk.

I agree, and nicely put.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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