Aug 202010

The Weekly Standard had a little too much fun with Todd Purdum’s lame defense of President Obama in Vanity Fair. Not that there is anything wrong with Obama-bashing per se, but sometimes it causes the practitioners to take their eye off the ball. Like this time, under the heading, “Excuses, Excuses“:

Todd Purdum explains in Vanity Fair that Washington is “broken.” The presidency is under too much pressure. “The modern presidency … has become a job of such gargantuan size, speed, and complexity as to be all but unrecognizable to most of the previous chief executives,” Purdum writes.

…And there’s not enough time in the day for the president. Well, you’ve heard all this before. It’s the too-big-for-one-person excuse first trotted out decades ago to minimize the stumbling and bumbling of Jimmy Carter. It didn’t boost Carter’s approval rating, nor is it likely to jack up Obama’s. But come to think of it, that excuse has the ring of truth. The presidency was a job too big for Carter—and it may be for Obama as well.

Obama may be too inexperienced, and Carter may have been a malicious fool, but George W. Bush wasn’t exactly Mr. Competent, either. And do we really want a president who can master the monster our government has come? Wouldn’t that require someone of Stalinist powers and Clintonian inclinations? No, the presidency ought to be a job that can be handled by any of hundreds of honest and talented persons in the country.

Instead of using the current situation as an excuse to point out the relative incompetence of President Obama, we should instead be using it to point out that Purdum is right. Government is too “gargantuan” and “complex,” and it needs to be scaled back in size and scope so it doesn’t live or die by whoever is at the top. It needs to be able to function when the top office is occupied by those who are not quite the best and brightest among us.