Saturday, February 4, 2012

Unable to See? Or is it Unwilling?

I had correctly anticipated yesterday’s employment report—and also the bubble of publicity that the data would produce: one side claiming credit, the other denying it. In such a situation one almost never hears the plain and obvious truth of the thing, but it delighted me to hear David Brooks say it yesterday on the PBS News Hour. Here it is:
Presidents do not control the economy under their watch. They can have a marginal impact in extraordinary circumstances. But it has to do with a lot more complicated things then they are responsible for.
Evidently the dreary truth of things is too much for our times. We prefer to make elaborate gestures quite devoid of all reality. We want our symbols to be simple. The highest celeb around is responsible for everything. Never mind the facts.

I think it was during the same newscast that I heard Newt Gingrich say that President Obama is “against American energy.” Now there’s a sound byte. It’s not meant to be teased apart into concrete meanings. Do that and you end up with absolutely nothing at all. But I feel for those in whom such a charge actually resonates; I wouldn’t want to be their parent, mate, or child.

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