Saturday, January 06, 2007

Barnett on 2008 Prez Politics

This article, from Thomas Barnett on the hedgehogs and foxes of FDR to Bush II presidencies, is so good--read the whole thing here.

The beginning:

The ancient Greek poet Archilochus opined, "The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing." Let me submit that we're living through the final months of the decidedly hedgehog presidency of George W. Bush, whose strategic failures logically can be remedied by the election of a fox in 2008.
The ending

Now, as the 2008 presidential campaign gears up, let me offer you this advice: seek out foxes and avoid hedgehogs. Don't listen to candidates who tell you this whole election boils down to one thing and one thing alone. While that approach made sense for some time following 9/11, America's clearly moved past that historical inflection point. We need a president with more than one answer to every question, one whose toolkit is as diverse as his - or her - ideology is flexible. We need a dealmaker, a compromiser, a closer. We need someone able to finish what others cannot and start that which others dare not. We need a leader who knows many things because we've had enough of those who know only one big thing.

Who fits that profile--the question I think Americans should be asking themselves (ourselves) this year.

Initial reactions:

--Not McCain: an uber hedgehog. He would be so consumed by Iran and Russia and possibly China real question marks for me. [In a way I really do dig the guy. I've always said he should have been president the last 8 years not George. But his time is past I think].
--Not Edwards, the emerging leftist hedgehog candidate (anti-war, unions, 2 Americas). [I still don't think Al Gore is running or he would be another one--narrowly focused on one topic, Global something or other is it?].

Fox-like out the gate (ime, in my estimation):

Obama, Giuliani.

Hillary Clinton: who knows what she is actually for? I still think she is much more built for very effective long term leadership of Senate (and Democratic Party).
Mitt Romney: potential fox qualities (Conservative Governor, Blue State), would likely do well to secure Sam Brownback as VP. Would help him shore up social conservative vote, which he is courting (contra McCain and Giuliani) but has slipped recently around some possible flip-flopping on the subject. Not sure though. Don't know enough about him yet.


At 7:47 PM, Blogger Bigdaddy said...

What this article is identifying is relevant type characteristics: what type of personality do we want the next prez to have, yes? You may want to supplement the type analysis with levels -- my vote is for the highest altitude available. Putting the two together gives us Obama as the individual Americans ought to vote for.

At 6:28 PM, Blogger Jai said...

Obama may have the potential, but he is far too inexperienced to carry it off. It takes deep background to come up with multiple solutions and flexible ideology while still maintaining some sort of moral center. Witness Obama's stand on the pending troop surge. He knows it's wrong, but he also knows the Senate won't do anything to stop it, and he's ok with that, because he doesn't have the chops to know what to do.

As far as I can see, there's only one potential 08 candidate who meets Barnett's description of the fox, and that would be Wes Clark.

Clark is often painted as a one trick pony, but dont' mistake him for a hedgehog. This man has an Oxford masters in economics, was a White House Fellow at OMB, and is a professional educator, whether teaching at the college level, training young soldiers just out of high school, or running schools K-12 for 44,000 school kids in Europe. More importantly, if Clark has a single first priority, it's to restoring our Constitution to its rightful place in our system of government. He's a "big picture" kind of guy -- precisely what we need most.

Clark has all of Obama's charsimatic appeal to the common man, but with a depth and breadth of knowledge, as well as sheer dogged determination, to bring the federal bureaucracy to heel and make it work the way it's supposed to.

At 7:56 PM, Blogger CJ Smith said...


I've for long time said Wes Clark would be the best, I just don't think he has a snowball's chance in Satan's playground.

The word is he may be the VP for a Hillary Clinton.


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