March 15, 2009

George Will - conservative pariah?

Not entirely unrelated to the "Thought for the Day" post, this quote from George Will's column on Thursday March 12th,

The president's confidence in his capacities is undermining confidence in his judgment. His way of correcting what he called the Bush administration's "misplaced priorities" has been to have no priorities. Mature political leaders know that to govern is to choose -- to choose what to do and thereby to choose what cannot be done. The administration insists that it really does have a single priority: Everything depends on fixing the economy. But it also says that everything depends on everything: Economic revival requires enactment of the entire liberal wish list of recent decades.

The implausibility of this opportunistic hypothesis is deepened by Obama's rhetoric, which says "catastrophe" impends unless everything is done simultaneously. But his budget, in effect, says the danger will soon be gone and the new risk will be whiplash from the economy's sudden acceleration. Although only a small fraction of the supposedly countercyclical stimulus will be spent by the end of the year, the budget assumes that by then the economy will have perked up, and that it will grow robustly -- 3.2 percent, 4 percent and 4.6 percent -- in the next three years. Growth supposedly will cut the deficit in half -- growth and the $1.6 trillion "saved" by first assuming, and then "canceling," a 10-year continuation of the surge in Iraq. Why, one wonders, not "save" $5 trillion by proposing to spend that amount to cover the moon with yogurt, and then canceling the proposal?

The blind leading the blind indeed (see the previous post).

I've had some issues with Mr. Will's seeming positions over the last several months. In January 2008 in the Washington Post, Mr. Will wrote;

Barack Obama, who might be mercifully closing the Clinton parenthesis in presidential history, is refreshingly cerebral amid this recrudescence of the paranoid style in American politics. He is the un-Edwards and un-Huckabee -- an adult aiming to reform the real world rather than an adolescent fantasizing mock-heroic "fights" against fictitious villains in a left-wing cartoon version of this country.


Seemingly he'd been slipping leftward, or falling for the Obama charisma, or at least being too forgiving of the President. But perhaps it was a mere feint in order to be able to say down the road 'look, I gave the guy a fair chance'. Perhaps those of us quick to have wanted to cast Mr. Will from the fold (and though I don't believe I ever proclaimed it aloud, I would include myself among them), should reconsider. Not based on one article, or series of articles, but based on his body of work as a whole. Momentary lapses of reason can and should be forgiven -if indeed they were momentary. True the timing and duration of the lapse could have been better, but George Will did not turn this election.

I for one have enjoyed many of Mr. Will's writings in the past and will return to reading his opinions. I'd be willing to welcome him back to the fold - it's my contribution to the Big Tent. Then again, others may have differing opinions.

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