"We need a President who wants to understand and can understand…"

October 31, 2008

You probably joined the umpteen-million people who watched prior US President William Jefferson Clinton stump for Barack Obama this week. You may, however, have been sort of caught up in the moment coming as it did after the infomercial. It is worth reflecting a bit more on what he had to say on the topic of making decisions from a position of knowledge. Of the importance of gathering as much information as possible.

The press used to make fun of Clinton for his fondness for policy wankery wonkery. I never understood this. I wanted the President to know stuff. I still do.
How on earth did this ever become a partisan divide?

No Responses Yet to “"We need a President who wants to understand and can understand…"”

  1. Stephanie Z Says:

    It became a partisan issue when data on the effects of progressive taxation, education and social programs started becoming available. It’s difficult claim you want to lower teen birth rates, abortion rates and crime while getting rid of these programs without disparaging the studies that show they’re the most effective means of addressing these issues.
    In other words, the regressives were betrayed by the data, and they haven’t gotten over it yet. Obviously, this means there’s something wrong with the people who like data.


  2. llewelly Says:

    The press used to make fun of Clinton for his fondness for policy wankery wonkery. I never understood this. I wanted the President to know stuff. I still do.

    The more I’ve learned, the more I’ve discovered almost all of the press is overflowing with articles which are ignorant, misleading, and downright wrong. Knowledge makes them look stupid. Knowledge is their enemy.


  3. JC Says:

    “How on earth did this ever become a partisan divide?”
    Good ol’ boy who you can have a beer with George Bush is how this became a Repug brand. Joe Sixpack, Joe the Plumber, Tito the Builder, Caribou Barbie all reinforce the delusion that ANYONE can be president, that you don’t need a hoity toity college education. Even morons can run and do run the country… they run it into the ground!!! But hey, they run it. They CAN do it. They got to the oval office. A manager of a baseball team can be prez… a redneck beauty queen, a house husband of a beer heiress also have what it takes to get there. 2 legs.


  4. Art Says:

    It ties into what I call the “Character as catyst”-(tm) meme.
    The idea that given the right strength of character that experience, knowledge, training, education, or even material support of ones plans, are not important. It as if the character itself were a catalyst that triggers good things to happen by its mere presence. This is assumed to be a universal and ever present metaphysical effect by the believers in such things.
    It has ties to the concept of ‘will’. Fascists of all stripes have a thing for ‘will’. They see it as the single most important component in all successful acts. So powerful that lacking any material components of success will alone will suffice.
    The reason this drifts into anti-intellectualism is that intellectual curiosity and an admitted desire to learn and be educated points to both doubt and a lack of faith in ones inherent character and will.
    A person of strong will does not question their ability to have a good outcome emerge even when that haven’t any idea of the issues at hand or a clue as to how to address them. As Palin put it ‘you don’t blink’. There is blind faith that Sky Daddy has chosen to put you into that position and so, it is assumed, you are sufficient to the job. And Sky Daddy doesn’t chose people by what they know. He chooses people for what they ‘are’. Simplified: ‘character counts’. Education, intellectual curiosity, experience, management and organizational skills … not so much.
    Scary as it may be, appropriate for Halloween perhaps, this is pretty much how these people think.


  5. Becca Says:

    @JC- most house husbands I know are smarter than most presidential candidates I know (true story- my father, the house husband, beat Hillary Clinton when they were both doing debate in high school).
    On topic- I chalk the partisan divide up to another consequence of reality’s well known liberal bias.


  6. Obama once used this line in a stump speech…”It’s like these guys take pride in being ignorant”. I’m sorry that he hasn’t used it more, though I understand why.
    As to the reasons behind this, there are several. But chiefly, religious fundamentalism has a lot to do with it. Take a bite from the tree of knowledge and you’re damned forever; Don’t believe what you see, have faith in what I say; Reason and logic are atheistic pursuits; and so on. Heck, the only way these cults can flourish is if they keep their followers happily ignorant. And they do a fucking bang-up job of it.


  7. How on earth did this ever become a partisan divide?

    It became a partisan divide when the Republican Party made the explicit decision to rebuild their party in the 1960s on the electoral base of 40 million moral and intellectual degenerates.


  8. Out Says:

    Partisan politics is a good thing. I want my legislators to be bogged down in discussion, it slows their tendency to pass tyrannical laws.
    Please be careful. It would appear that you have bought into the W. is a dumb-fuck idea. W. and by extension the neocon Republicans do NOT glorify ignorance, they put forth an image of glorifying ignorance. Big difference. In reality, these are cold-blooded psychopaths, they glorify evil, death and tyranny. How else could they have gotten so far if not for a brilliant marketing campaign?
    Please don’t attribute to ignorance that which can be explained by malice.


  9. The ability to plug one’s ears regarding debate on any topic isn’t limited to politicians. Plenty of scientists show a similar disdain for hearing out an opposing view on a research topic.


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