28.3.16

RESPECT THE TRAGIC VISION.

A recent In These Times essay features Hillary Clinton questioning the cult of the presidency, at least when it's the perception of someone she's running against.
In the midst of a fierce primary contest, Hillary Clinton has laid into her opponent: “I could stand up here and say, 'Let's just get everybody together. Let's get unified. The sky will open. The light will come down. Celestial choirs will be singing, and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect.”

“You are not going to wave a magic wand and have the special interests disappear,” she added.
That was Candidate Hillary running against Barack Obama in 2008. The point of the In These Times essay is it's now Bernie Sanders offering the rainbow-farting unicorns.

But when Barack Obama wrapped up the nomination in 2008, here is former candidate Hillary bowing to the inevitable.
The way to continue our fight now, to accomplish the goals for which we stand is to take our energy, our passion, our strength, and do all we can to help elect Barack Obama, the next president of the United States.
The unicorns didn't fart any rainbows, but the wishful thinking continues.  What is to be desired, though, is for people to draw the further lesson from this Peter Bloom questioning of Expertise.
Indeed, as the general election season approaches, the main storyline seems to be whether a “boring” policy wonk can defeat an inciting demagogue. Clinton is portrayed as above all informed and reasonable. Trump, by contrast, is lambasted as ignorant and irrational.
The best possible outcome of a Trump candidacy might be the concentrating of minds against the cult of the presidency, and the broader notion of Governance by Wise Experts.

Mr Bloom is drawing people's attention to what he refers to as the "smart con," meaning the candidate who sells herself on the basis of Expertise plus Experience.  But much of that Experience rests on Misapplied Experience.
This now well-trodden narrative is especially problematic in the present campaign. Her opponent Bernie Sanders has directly questioned her judgment, noting that despite having the same information as lawmakers she was as disastrously wrong about Iraq as he was presciently correct.

This critique is not just typical election rhetoric either. It goes to the heart of Clinton’s case to be President – if she is really the most experienced and informed candidate than why has she shown such consistently poor judgment when it mattered? Indeed, what is the benefit of her deep well of knowledge if it does not translate into wisdom?
"Critique." "Problematic." That is, we have an objection, from the left, to much of Mrs Clinton's record.

Now let us consider a different question, that ought be asked of any candidate for president, or of any defender of the proposition that Wise Experts can Get It Right.

What is the benefit of your deep well of knowledge where complex adaptive systems tend to do what they darn well please?

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