Monday, February 16, 2009

Political Leadership

Reading H. L. Mencken early this morning (5AM), I came upon a column written in 1934 about political leadership that I thought was applicable today as we wonder if Obama has it.

[Excerpts from "The Impossible H. L. Mencken, page 430-431.]

[referring to a good leader]

"The most reflective sort of people have confidence in his fundamental decency. They may believe that he is unwise on occasion, but they do not believe he is knavish. There are obviously things that he will not do, even to continue in office. But all his qualms and points of honor are bound, soon or late, to alienate the low down variety of politicians, who have no more notion of honor that so many street-walkers, and with them go the simian half-wits who are their customers. It is useful, in politics, to be decent, if only because it is so rare, but only up to a point. After that it is hazardous ...


"... The science of government is really very simple, else the world would have gone to pot long ago. The country will remain safe enough for all practical purposes so long as it is in the hands of a man of character, honest, gallant, and mellowed and moderated by a sense of humor. Most Americans, I take it, still believe that [Roosevelt then, Obama now] answers to these specifications. He will have a free hand while he can keep them thinking so."

Can Obama control the knaves and fanatics ? Can or will he eventually stand up to Princess Pelosi ? I wonder ...

Something is troubling me ... why is he taking the control of the Census into the White House ? That cannot be a good sign. It's actually in the style of Hugo Chavez, to politicize and corrupt a simple process of counting people. We'll see, but I am now suspicious.

Word of the Day

"Lave" - verb, transitive [$10] literary, from French
Lave means 1. wash, bath; 2. (of water) wash against, flow along.
A. [from Mencken referring to Chester Arthur] "But he was no village guzzler like Harding: he preferred vintage wines to hard liquor, and permitted only the best to lave his tonsils."
B. On Friday evenings, Bunkerman laves his throat (and would lave his tonsils if he had any) with a finely mixed Golden Kryptonite martini.

Le Mot du Jour

"Détendre" - verb, transitive - regular -re verb conjugated like rendre.
Détendre means 1. to release, to slacken, to relax. Se détendre [VPR] means 1. to loose its tension, to become slack; 2. to relax, to calm down, to become less tense.
La Phrase: Un verre de vin rouge me détend.
Sentence: A glass of red wine relaxes me.