Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Something Higher? President Obama

The chief executive's power does not derive solely from the authority vested in him by the Constitution. To the contrary, it derives also - and in some ways, more so - from his ability to rally the people, to inspire them in some great challenge or crusade.

We do not live - yet - in a dictatorship. Americans do not move because they are told to move. They move because they are inspired to. It is no accident that history's most successful presidents are the ones who were able to frame, with concision and grace, America's challenges and hopes, the ones who had greatest command over what Theodore Roosevelt famously called "the bully pulpit."

Think Ronald Reagan saying government is not the solution to the problem, government is the problem. Think Franklin Roosevelt declaring that the only thing we had to fear was fear itself. Think Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg vowing a new birth of freedom.

Now, try to remember anything Millard Fillmore ever uttered. A hundred years from now, will anyone still be saying, "I'm the decider?"

What some of us don't understand is that Mr. Obama is not running a campaign. He is rallying a movement. After seven years of what may go down as the worst presidency ever, after the grime of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, after dreary years of internecine sniping where ideological purity has routinely trumped national interest, Americans want something else. Something higher.
DON BOUDREAUX'S THOUGHTS on this idea of something higher:
If you, Dear Reader, want to be part of a collective movement, that's fine with me. Really, it is. I wish you luck and happiness. But please don't force me to join you in your crusade (whatever it might be). And please don't presume that if I choose not to join in any collective effort, or only in a collective effort involving fewer persons than the efforts you favor, that my life is somehow empty, my soul shriveled, my mind small, my heart uncaring, my habits contemptible. I myself might well wish to be part of a cause larger than myself -- I reserve that right -- but I promise never to force you to join with me; I promise never to presume that you are less of a person if you refuse to join my cause or even if you refuse to join any collectively pursued cause.
I tend more to Mr. Boudreaux's thoughts than to Mr. Pitts' thoughts on something higher. On the other hand if the something higher was a passion for individual liberty then I might well jump on board the train. But, the something higher in Senator Obama's campaign strikes me as more likely the opposite of a passion for liberty.

No comments: