Say of the Day: George Will Channels Ambrose Bierce

November 13, 2008


One of the things that keeps me optimistic about an Obama administration is that by temperament, he doesn’t seem the type to claim a mandate.  One of the things that makes me cautious about an Obama administration is that he damned well better govern as if he has one.  Will:

For now, the president-elect is coming to terms with something noted by Ambrose Bierce, the 19th-century American wit who wrote “The Devil’s Dictionary.” He defined “president” as the leading figure in a small group of persons of whom it is positively known that immense numbers of their countrymen did not want them to be president. Tuesday night, Obama, in his agreeably subdued speech in Grant Park, seemed to feel the weight of that.


Say of the Day: Judith Warner in NYT

November 9, 2008

The glory of Barack Obama is that there are so many different kinds of us who can claim a piece of that “our.” African-Americans, Democrats, post-boomers, progressives, people who rose from essentially nowhere and through hard work and determination succeeded beyond their parents’ wildest dreams are the most obvious.

Say of the Day: Jeremy Grantham

October 12, 2008

In Barron’s:

I have a theory that people who find themselves running major-league companies are real organization-management types who focus on what they are doing this quarter or this annual budget. They are somewhat impatient, and focused on the present. Seeing these things requires more people with a historical perspective who are more thoughtful and more right-brained — but we end up with an army of left-brained immediate doers.

So it’s more or less guaranteed that every time we get an outlying, obscure event that has never happened before in history, they are always going to miss it. And the three or four-dozen-odd characters screaming about it are always going to be ignored.

If you look at the people who have been screaming about impending doom, and you added all of those several dozen people together, I don’t suppose that collectively they could run a single firm without dragging it into bankruptcy in two weeks. They are just a different kind of person.

So we kept putting organization people — people who can influence and persuade and cajole — into top jobs that once-in-a-blue-moon take great creativity and historical insight. But they don’t have those skills

Say of the Day: Peggy Noonan on Palin’s Debate Performance

October 4, 2008

Sarah Palin saved John McCain again Thursday night. She is the political equivalent of cardiac paddles.

Full op/ed piece here

Say of the Day: Tom Friedman in the NYT

September 21, 2008

Friedman points to the fact which remains simultaneously verboten in this campaign and as plain as the nose on your face:  this President will be forced call on Americans to sacrifice.

George W. Bush never once — not one time — challenged Americans to do anything hard, let alone great. The next president is not going to have that luxury. He will have to ask everyone to do something hard — and I want to know now who is up to that task.

Say of the Day: Garrison Keillor

September 16, 2008

And if you question her qualifications to be the leader of the free world, you are an elitist. This is a beautiful maneuver. I wish I had thought of it back in school when I was forced to subject myself to a final exam in higher algebra. I could have told Miss Mortenson, “I am a Christian and when you gave me a D, you only showed your contempt for the Lord and for the godly hard-working people from whom I have sprung, you elitist battle-ax you.”

Say of the Day: Bob Herbert in NYT

September 13, 2008

While watching the Sarah Palin interview with Charlie Gibson Thursday night, and the coverage of the Palin phenomenon in general, I’ve gotten the scary feeling, for the first time in my life, that dimwittedness is not just on the march in the U.S., but that it might actually prevail.