No ideology survives the collision with real-world politics perfectly intact. General principles have to bend to accommodate the complexities of history, and justice is sometimes better served by compromise than by zealous intellectual consistency.
So true, Douthat, so true. Too bad Dothat can’t pry open his mind and consider that the president, an ideologue through and through, is almost daily confronted with his leftist ideology colliding with real-world politics. BO should heed Douthat’s advice to Paul:
This was all that Rand Paul needed to admit, after his victory in Kentucky’s Republican Senate primary, when NPR and Rachel Maddow asked about his views of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. “As a principled critic of federal power,” he could have said, “I oppose efforts to impose Washington’s will on states and private institutions. As a student of the history of segregation and slavery, however, I would have made an exception for the Civil Rights Act.”
Gee, if only BO would say something like “I strongly favor adhering to the rule of the law and believe firmly that we are a nation of laws and should not bend our principles in the course of ordinary events. As president of a country that was forever changed on 9/11, however, I would have to make an exception in our handling of terrorists.” Or how about: “While I believe, firmly, that spreading the wealth around is good for everybody, I have studied American history and her economy, and I need to correct course in order to respect and uphold American values and free market principles.”
Douthat’s final paragraph also contains some wisdom that BO would do well to recognize before he’s completely divided this nation and destroyed our economy.
And it shouldn’t come as a shock that [Ron Paul’s] son found himself publicly undone, in what should have been his moment of triumph, because he was too proud to acknowledge the limits of ideology, and to admit that a principle can be pushed too far.
Hear, hear, Douthat. This could well be the final word on BO’s entire presidency: undone in what should have been a moment (or two terms) of triumph that he let slip away through prideful demagoguery. Too bad Douthat’s so busy (I think quite rightly) taking Paul to task that he doesn’t see how very well this applies to the Ideologue in Chief. In everything from ObamaCare to foreign affairs to the KSM trial to the Arizona illegal immigration law, he’s stubbornly (some say insanely) stayed courses that have no relation to reality . . . even in the face of repeated failures. He’s alienating our allies and emboldening our enemies, Iran’s getting nukes despite BO’s magically extending deadlines and empty threats, socialism always fails, and he’s divided this country as it’s not been since the ’60s. Epic fail.
If only BO weren’t too proud to admit the limitations (and the failures) of his fanciful ideological approach to matters that really need a more realistic, more humble, more grounded hand.
[cross posted at Potluck]