In the current Weekly Standard, Steven Hayward argues that the nation’s founders wanted "uncertified citizens" to hold the highest offices in the land. They did not believe in a separate class of professional executives. They wanted "rough and rooted people," says Hayward, "like Sarah Palin."

Here's the usually right-leaning David Brooks, in today's NY Times, struggling with reality about Hayward's illusion:

"I would have more sympathy for this view if I hadn’t just lived through the last eight years. For if the Bush administration was anything, it was the anti-establishment attitude put into executive practice. And the problem with this attitude is that, especially in his first term, it made Bush inept at governance. It turns out that governance, the creation and execution of policy, is hard. It requires acquired skills. Most of all, it requires 'prudence.' What is prudence? It is the ability to grasp the unique pattern of a specific situation. It is the ability to absorb the vast flow of information and still discern the essential current of events — the things that go together and the things that will never go together. It is the ability to engage in complex deliberations and feel which arguments have the most weight."

Right you are, David... until you get it wrong about how one acquires "prudence."


"How is prudence acquired? Through experience. The prudent leader possesses a repertoire of events, through personal involvement or the study of history, and can apply those models to current circumstances to judge what is important and what is not, who can be persuaded and who can’t, what has worked and what hasn’t."

Sorry, David, but prudence, or wisdom, is not a function of experience, but of the ability to LEARN from experience, which requires openness of mind and connectedness in feeling. The development of prudence comes from flexibility, empathy, patience and emotional intelligence. That is why Sarah Palin, with so little experience, AND John McCain, with so much, are both not qualified to be president and vice president.

You almost got it right... again, David. Keep trying.

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