I know you intended to praise Mr. Obama in this article when you say that the characteristic you are most impressed with is his intellect but your logic does not work for me. I do not have a problem if this characteristic inspires you but it gives me an icky feeling. It gives me the same feeling I had when a friend told me that my blind date has a nice personality. In this time of crisis I really do not care how well Mr. Obama can discuss obscure authors like Niebuhr. I do care whether he can lead this country. Intellectualism is pretty low on my list of leadership characteristics.
With regard to your point about Sarah being a fatal cancer to the Republican party, I think you are ignoring how bad some of the “ideas” you are defending. You complain that she is anti-intellectual and scorns ideas. I believe that her lack of respect for some of these ideas is well founded and echoes the sentiment of a lot of people. As an example I went to the AIG web site and reviewed their Conference Call Credit Presentation. From this presentation I can tell that there are some real intellectuals at AIG and they can make some really nice charts. I bet a couple of these intellectuals can even discuss Niebuhr at length. So please excuse Sarah and the bipartisan contempt for AIG. It is not that we are anti-intellectual but we feel our intellectuals have betrayed us. What is readily apparent to the people on Main Street seems to be lost on the smart men and women who used to work on Wall Street. Betting the company on these risk management ideas was a really bad idea. This same argument can easily be extended to Fannie Mae, Lehman, and all of the companies involved in the bailout.
Another intellectual full of grand ideas deserving your attention is Barney Frank. In a feat that would inspire awe from Machiavelli our country has embraced Barney Frank’s ideas of government sponsored mortgage banking and subsidies for housing. Barney could never get his ideas through his committee let alone through the House of Representatives but here we are embracing his ideas for getting out of this mess. Barney is probably pretty confident that once we create these institutions we will never go back. The best part of this trick is that there never was a debate or a vote. As we lurch from capitalism to socialism I find it amazing that we are just a small step from adopting New York City’s model of rent control throughout the land. As we reluctantly embrace socialism as a necessary evil, it is a natural conclusion that we will willingly sacrifice one of our principles that makes home owners so important to the country. Home owners are financially independent because they have allowed themselves to be transformed by their sacrifice, sweat, and equity. This process of owning a house demands a financial discipline by the families that they typically cannot do on their own. Their sacrifice makes them tough and independent. They are the country’s financial backbone and embody the American Dream. Home ownership without sacrifice, sweat, or equity is not home ownership. It is renting. If you want to see a vision of the future for housing you just need to look at New York City. Despite the fact that Barney Frank’s ideas for government are being implemented there is widespread bipartisan anger, disgust, and contempt. If you are correct and Sarah is the fatal cancer to the Republican Party, then we are already lost. There will be no debate and our path to socialism will be unimpeded. It is a natural conclusion that socialism will change our economy in dramatic ways. Many people will be very uncomfortable if our role model becomes Denmark. On the other hand Sarah’s embrace of populism may be just the balancing power we need to use the best characteristics of capitalism to reform these institutions that successfully avoided reform in the past. It will be difficult. Our “good idea” to fix this financial crisis is to issue more bad loans to cover the past bad loans. This may not be a good time to ignore all of the angry people out there and embrace intellectualism. The drums we hear in the distance is not the sound of a parade.