Our Mr. Ceaser has the first great article on how to compare our two presidential nominees. One specializes in MAKING MONEY, the other in INTELLECTUAL DISPLAYS.
I especailly like Jim beginning with what Romney and Obama share in common: No military service, exemplary family life, admirable personal discipline, and the capacity for mature decisiveness in a crisis. We can suspend our partisanship enough to admit they’re both good men. We can add that we would trust each of them more with said military service. Neither, we can say, is distinguished by being a man of honor. Obama was raised an intellectual, and Mitt an oligarch elevated by his faithful practice of his religion.
Mitt, in other words, is the middle-class yet really rich and still religiously moral American so carefully and ambivalently analyzed by Tocqueville, one clearly prepared for self-government and political liberty. Intellectuals without business experience, Tocqueville goes on, get too caught up in excessively vague or promiscuously egalitarian general ideas they end up sacrificing facing up to the tough choices of the present by being caught up in images our of our indefinite perfectibiliity.
One advantage of Jim’s comparison that impresses me is that it will keep conservatives from expecting too much—or the wrong stuff—from Romney. A highly competent managerial oligarchic democrat is just not likely to have the intellectual depth of a Lincoln or a Coolidge. But it might be overdramatizing our so-called crisis of debt and entitlements and such to think we need that kind of foundational depth at the helm right now. And Romney reticent but real display of faith in his works suggests that he will govern with real principle when it counts.
Meanwhile, here are my big thoughts on David Brooks on educational assessment.
One of my thoughts, not surprisingly, is that even or especially future business leaders get a lot more value to themselves as thinkers and writers if they delay their study of business to graduate school.
It would have been better, finally, if Mitt had been more moved by real books as an undergraduate.