Politics Without Passion: It’s a Good Thing
George Will, responding to Joe Klein and others who think our politics are too scripted and lacking in honest passion, writes:
If banality is the price we pay for the mostly mundane politics of a tranquil democracy, we should pay it gladly. The world would happily have forgone the most luminous episodes of democratic leadership — Lincoln’s, FDR’s, Churchill’s — in order to avoid the catastrophes that elicited them. Pericles would not have been Periclean if Athens’ problem had been gasoline at $3 a gallon.
Quite right. Indeed, George W. Bush, admittedly not a generally an eloquent public speaker, has given his best speeches in the darkest hours of his presidency, notably in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Although, occasionally, he has his moments outside the forge of tragedy:
At a town meeting, a man demands to know what the candidate would do about “all these bastards” born to welfare mothers. The candidate, Klein recalls, “glared at the man — he seemed truly angry — and said, ‘First, sir, we must remember that it is our duty to love all the children.”’ So spoke, during the hotly contested South Carolina primary in 2000, an indignant George W. Bush. Politics still has exhilarating moments.