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It's time for an "elite" president


Fri, Apr 25th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Political discourse, besides becoming more confrontational, has become more Orwellian. It seems almost a requirement to name programs in a manner that obscures their intent.

The Clear Skies Initiative, that has obstructed the Clean Air Act for the last five years, is the first that comes to mind.

Compassionate Conservatism, promoted by a fellow who claims everyone in the United States can get health care, all they have to do is go to the emergency room at their local hospital also pops right up there.

This is the same guy, while visiting Iraq amputees in Walter Reed Army hospital, claimed to also have an injury associated with the war; his was a cut made while clearing brush at his "ranch". Well, he never claimed compassion had to be associated with empathy or a sense of proportion.

The twisted, nonsensical, and misleading word play that has me chafing is the conflation of "elitist" and "elitism" with snobbery and, of all things, lack of empathy. Close behind is the denigration of intellectualism. Elite, elitism, elitist, and intellectual are now used in a derisive way interchangeably when the politico is pandering to "the masses".

We have to change. I want a really smart President and it can't come too soon.

We now have a President who openly brags about being a less than avid student.

We have campaign advisors who scramble to show their candidate is just an average Joe or Josephine. Hence, we have the spectacle of the first female to run for the presidency in history belting back neat shots of Crown Royal to show she is one of the boys.

Now, to become elected, the thinking is you have to be the one everyone wants to have a beer with. The unspoken assumption is that during the hops guzzling the candidate will refrain from the use of words containing three or more syllables. This is supposed to endear them to the "average" voter.

Obama has been called an elitist because he referred to unemployed/laid off blue collar workers as "bitter" and because of their bitterness taking refuge in religion, xenophobia, and guns. I thought religion was to comfort people in times of trouble and stress; xenophobia and guns are another story.

Obama was trying to explain the reasoning behind his instructions to young volunteer workers and how they should approach Pennsylvania's stressed blue collar workers.

Apparently, he has not learned the tricks the old politicians use: find three things for your messages and no matter the question always steer the answer back to those messages. Explain as little as possible. Keep it simple and keep it on message or have it twisted out of all recognition.

Unfortunately, the world is no longer as simple as black and white; you're with me or against me; you're my ally or my enemy, as some would have us believe.

That kind of thinking has destabilized the Middle East, put our military into the middle of a civil war and forfeited our chance to get the people who attacked us on 9/11; it has nearly broken our military and alienated even our most reliable allies; it has increased our national debt from 4 trillion to over 9 trillion dollars. Other nations, and even our own citizens, no longer trust the word of our government.

We need someone really smart to repair this. I don't want someone who is proud of his/her lack of academic achievement for President. I want a combination of Einstein, Locke, Bacon, Freud, Marie Curie, Franklin, Washington, Jefferson, George Marshall, and George Kennan all rolled into one. I want someone who was valedictorian, received academic scholarships, and is educated to pieces.

I want someone who speaks many languages but speaks English very precisely. I want someone whose sayings are printed as quotes to instruct and inspire not as jokes on calendars and cocktail napkins.

I want someone who can concentrate for as long as it takes to master the task at hand whatever it is.

I want someone who can think in shades of gray and not just in black and white.

I want someone who has the intellect and patience not to judge people by their color, but rather by their history, accomplishments, character and intellect.

To quote John Stewart, "Not only do I want an elite president, I want someone embarrassingly superior to me."

Robert Sauer lives in Preston. He can be contacted at r.sauer@mchsi.com

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