Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cause and Ineffect

George F. Will thinks President Obama is overreaching.

The first president whose campaign was his qualification for office continues to campaign. And he is overexposed. His schedulers should remember what a contemporary said of Thomas Babington Macaulay, a prodigiously articulate but oppressively constant talker: “He has occasional flashes of silence that make his conversation perfectly delightful.”

One afternoon last week, cable news viewers saw, at the top of their screens, the president launching yet another magnificent intention — the disassembly and rearrangement of the 17 percent of the economy that is health care. The bottom of their screens showed the Dow plunging 281 points. Surely the top of the screen partially explained the bottom.

And yet when the Dow shot up 379 points earlier this week, President Obama and his intentions had nothing to do with that, right, Mr. Will?

I think what has Mr. Will confused is that he’s gotten so accustomed to making excuses and using convoluted logic to explain the incompetence of Republican presidents and their inability to focus on more than one thing at a time that he doesn’t know what to do with it when he’s confronted with one who does.

Mr. Will has the ability to take a hare-brained theory and make it sound perfectly reasonable. Last month he made the case against climate change and cited a study by the University of Illinois’ Arctic Climate Research Center to back up his claims… only to have the University of Illinois’ Arctic Climate Research Center come back and say on their website that he misstated their research. I suppose it is to his credit that he has this ability to come across as the adult in the room, but crap is still crap. Whether he’s talking about climate change or the president’s ability to juggle more than one task at a time, it doesn’t do him or his causes any credit to be so wrong even if he sounds right.