Intermittent Blogging Resumes
I haven’t updated this blog in almost two months, so I guess it’s time. Here are some Cult-related items since last I blogged:
In the July 23 issue of the Economist, “Lexington” devoted his column to Cult of the Presidency. Here’s the first paragraph:
IN JANUARY 2007 Mike Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, said he was running for president to revive “our national soul”. He was not alone in taking an expansive view of presidential responsibilities. With the exception of Ron Paul, all the serious candidates waxed grandiloquent about their aims. John McCain said he modelled himself on Teddy Roosevelt, a man who “nourished the soul of a great nation”. Hillary Clinton lamented that America had no goals, and offered to supply some. And let us not forget the man they all sought to replace, George Bush, who promised, among other things, to “rid the world of evil”. Appalled by such hubris, a libertarian scholar called Gene Healy wrote “The Cult of the Presidency”, a book decrying the unrealistic expectations Americans have of their presidents. The book was written while Barack Obama’s career was still on the launch pad, yet it describes with uncanny prescience the atmosphere that allowed him to soar.
That was neat. That it happened when I was on vacation half a world away in Bali made it all the sweeter. For a while, I thought about getting a T-shirt made with “Ask Me About My Uncanny Prescience” across the chest, but I decided that would be pompous.
Also, my ability to predict how things would go politically has always been pathetic. Back in 1995, I told anyone who would listen that Phil Gramm would be our next president. Oddly, it turned out that America really didn’t want to elect a surly bald guy who once tried to finance soft-core porn movies.
But maybe I’m getting better at this prediction thing. Back in the early days of the Obama administration, when most limited-government types were doing an imitation of Bill Paxton’s character from Aliens, I argued that Obama’s then-stratospheric popularity was ephemeral, and that he was likely to end up as unpopular as Jimmy Carter. I don’t want to toot my own horn, but, uh, beep beep.