Monday, September 02, 2019

Memo to Beto O’Rourke and Stacey Abrams: You both may be too insane to be President of the United States

A likely presidential candidate from either party
You have to be crazy to run for President of the United States. 

To do the job effectively, you have to be willing to be the constant target of accusations and insults. You have to have your own life, past and present, under constant scrutiny by the press and opposition researchers. You have to be charming to people you loathe. You have to work a long, stressful day. You have to be willing to accept responsibility for the lives — or the snuffing out of the lives — of millions of people. If you suffer so much as a bout of constipation it’ll probably make the newspapers. 

You want that job? 

Then you’re nuts.

The least crazy presidents in this nation’s history were generally those who never intended to be president. They were crazy enough to be politicians, but not crazy enough to run day and night for a bed in the White House. Instead, they got sucked into office by a vacuum left when a president died.

There were three of those in my lifetime. Lyndon Johnson was the exception to the Rule of Crazy, a raging bundle of frustration who kept us in Viet Nam and escalated the damn thing, when he should have pulled us out and instead paid more attention to his one good idea, The Great Society.

But Harry S.Truman and Gerald Ford were both quite sane by presidential standards. Both were relatively ordinary people with an interest in politics but no great desire to be the top guy. Both weren’t bad presidents.

Is it bad to have a crazy President? Well, given that we almost never have a choice, I’d say it's simply a fact of life, and also that it depends on what kind of crazy you’re talking about. 

Nixon was crazy bad, covering up for Watergate by day, walking around the White House and talking to presidential paintings on the wall by night. Trump — you know, “the very stable genius” “the king of the Jews” and on and on —  is so insane, the imagination boggles. But other Presidents, from Lincoln, to Roosevelt, to Jack Kennedy and Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama were crazy for running for the job, but still not bad, or pretty good, or in at least one case possibly great presidents.

Which brings me finally to you guys, Beto O’Rourke and Stacey Abrams. 

Both of you know you’ll never make it, at least this time around, as winning candidates for president. Both of you live in states where Republican Senate seats are up for grabs and there has been a perceptible shift in sentiment from red to blue. You both stand a good chance of succeeding in a Senate race. 

Without a Senate majority, a Democratic President of the United States will be hamstrung. Your Senate wins could get the Democratic presidency into a position where progressive forces could really get something done in this country. Yet both of you, although you’ll never win the presidential nomination for 2020, have refused to run for the Senate.

Abrams has at least declared her interest in the vice-presidency. Perhaps she’s banking on some elderly Democratic president, like Joe Biden, dying in office, leaving the presidency to her by default.   O’Rourke has essentially said he’ll take the presidency or nothing.

Both have thus proved not only that they are crazy, but that they are too crazy, too willful, too disinterested in any thing save their own careers to run for the Senate.

Yeah, you gotta be nuts to be president. But you gotta be beyond insane to refuse to support the person who will be if he or she is a Democrat, or to rein in the current nut in the White House if the Democrats don’t make it.

If you two plan to continue flying off into a personal, careerist snit, you’re each, in your way, as egotistically nuts as Trump. And the diminishes the possibility that many Democrats will ever again vote for you for anything.

1 comment:

petrilli said...

Beto would have to go against Democrat MJ Hegar for Cornyn's seat. She's an excellent candidate. The Georgia race is a different story. Here's a good article on it