Ready to Govern

We've been hearing quite a bit lately about candidates being "not ready to govern." Sharron Angle, we're told, is not ready to govern. Carly Fiorina is not ready to govern. Joe Miller is NRG. Christine O'Donnell...need you ask? It's always conservative candidates, never liberals, but we might have guessed that. It's one of those phrases that appear simultaneously in blogs, columns, and news stories, exactly as if some secret network was dictating the correct media slant. But let's not be paranoid...

Instead we'll ask: in what the sense is the term "ready" being used? What is the context; exactly how is it defined? Well, it turns out to be a lot like quantum mechanics in that you start out with mystification, go deeper into mistiness and contradiction, and finally end up even more confused than when you began.

This is by no means unusual with media concepts, which are obscure at best when they're anchored to anything in the real world at all. So we'll try to discover what "readiness for office" might mean from an examination of the record. Several possibilities are apparent. The woman with the shark's teeth running the write-in campaign up in Alaska was evidently "ready for office" because Daddy said she was. While there's no shortage of this type around, it doesn't help us much. Similarly, it appears that every liberal politician is born ready for office, requiring no preparation and achieving suitability by something akin to Divine Right. Politics, from the liberal point of view, looks a lot like the feudalism of the high medieval period. But we already knew that.

It's the 2008 presidential campaign that gives us first solid lead as to the actual meaning of political readiness. In that campaign, two figures embodied opposite extremes.

The first of these served as the governor of an enormous if raw state, after terms on her city council and as mayor. During her truncated gubernatorial term, she nailed down a resource agreement with a foreign country that had been hanging fire for decades, along with cleaning up serious corruption in her own state party and reworking contracts with the energy companies. She was then chosen as a vice-presidential candidate, nearly salvaging the ticket by her presence alone. After overcoming a single malicious ambush, she has developed into the sole public figure capable of utterly routing the legacy media, a feat she performs on a regular basis. Her current status is that of unofficial spokeswoman for one of the most powerful and influential political movements on record. And she accomplished all this while being harassed by corrupt members of her own party and dealing with personal difficulties that in and of themselves might have defeated a lesser individual

The verdict on this candidate? Unready, of course. In fact, so far from true metaphysical readiness is she that if she worked for eight hundred years she'd never make it. It's a distinct possibility that future dictionaries may well read: unready adj. see Sarah Palin.

We now turn to our other example, a candidate so finely prepared as to be ready not only for the presidency, but also to take over the role of lord god almighty if a vacancy should occur. What lent this figure his superb aura of readiness? Well, he went to college a lot. He worked as a "community organizer," which, as far as I've been able to gather, is a kind of combination of Gandhi, Mr. Chips, and Louie the Bagman. He put his name to two books that people "edited" for him. He served a short period as state representative in which he voted "present" on most bills, and an even shorter period as a U.S. senator.

What did this astonishing record of preparation lead to? So ready was Obama that it turned out he didn't even have to govern, leaving it to assorted corrupt, incompetent, and insane members of his party. Instead, he devoted his time to golf, dinner parties, and bowing to foreign potentates. The result has been economic stagnation, international humiliation, and a party going into the midterms on the same trajectory as a kamikaze whose pilot realizes at the last minute that he is aiming not at an enemy battleship but at a large midocean rock.

We begin to get a clear picture of the media concept of political "readiness." The candidate truly prepared for office exhibits the following traits:

  • Knows how to play the game
  • Knows how to lie, prevaricate, and manipulate
  • Went to the right schools and met the right people
  • Never rocked any boats
  • Is an American liberal

...or we could instead simply say that the concept of "readiness" as promoted by the media and various political actors is yet another con. Readiness is a bogus proposition created to provide another handful of mud to throw at candidates from outside the system. It's no coincidence that it's being used almost exclusively in reference to Tea Party candidates. Some, like Christine O'Donnell, could probably use a little more seasoning. Others, such as Joe Miller, are by their records manifestly ready for anything, including Godzilla and World War IV.

But it doesn't really matter, because this country was built on unreadiness. Nobody could have been adequately prepared for the task of settling North America and creating the world's first true democracy to rule it. We were utterly unready for the challenge of taming an entire continent, of battling tribal enemies of a ferocity and intelligence found nowhere else in the world, of throwing off the control of the most powerful empire in history, of ending chattel slavery, of destroying the imperialists, the fascists, and the communists. We were never ready to tackle any of it. And if we'd waited until we were ready, as our wise and insightful media appears to be suggesting, it would never have been done.

Readiness, in the media sense, amounts to being a synonym for political acceptability. It has brought us corruption, stagnation, and incompetence as a way of life. It's time for people who are not part of the network, people who have done other things with their lives as opposed to preparing for a political career, to have their shot. People who may well not be ready, who will make mistakes, who will do the unexpected, who will not play the tired old game. We must face the challenges of this new millennium the same way we faced all the others -- ready or not.

So here we've reached the end of the essay without a single Aethelred reference. Maybe I wasn't actually ready to write this thing after all.

J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker and will edit the forthcoming Military Thinker.
His book, Death by Liberalism, will be published by Broadside Books this January.
We've been hearing quite a bit lately about candidates being "not ready to govern." Sharron Angle, we're told, is not ready to govern. Carly Fiorina is not ready to govern. Joe Miller is NRG. Christine O'Donnell...need you ask? It's always conservative candidates, never liberals, but we might have guessed that. It's one of those phrases that appear simultaneously in blogs, columns, and news stories, exactly as if some secret network was dictating the correct media slant. But let's not be paranoid...

Instead we'll ask: in what the sense is the term "ready" being used? What is the context; exactly how is it defined? Well, it turns out to be a lot like quantum mechanics in that you start out with mystification, go deeper into mistiness and contradiction, and finally end up even more confused than when you began.

This is by no means unusual with media concepts, which are obscure at best when they're anchored to anything in the real world at all. So we'll try to discover what "readiness for office" might mean from an examination of the record. Several possibilities are apparent. The woman with the shark's teeth running the write-in campaign up in Alaska was evidently "ready for office" because Daddy said she was. While there's no shortage of this type around, it doesn't help us much. Similarly, it appears that every liberal politician is born ready for office, requiring no preparation and achieving suitability by something akin to Divine Right. Politics, from the liberal point of view, looks a lot like the feudalism of the high medieval period. But we already knew that.

It's the 2008 presidential campaign that gives us first solid lead as to the actual meaning of political readiness. In that campaign, two figures embodied opposite extremes.

The first of these served as the governor of an enormous if raw state, after terms on her city council and as mayor. During her truncated gubernatorial term, she nailed down a resource agreement with a foreign country that had been hanging fire for decades, along with cleaning up serious corruption in her own state party and reworking contracts with the energy companies. She was then chosen as a vice-presidential candidate, nearly salvaging the ticket by her presence alone. After overcoming a single malicious ambush, she has developed into the sole public figure capable of utterly routing the legacy media, a feat she performs on a regular basis. Her current status is that of unofficial spokeswoman for one of the most powerful and influential political movements on record. And she accomplished all this while being harassed by corrupt members of her own party and dealing with personal difficulties that in and of themselves might have defeated a lesser individual

The verdict on this candidate? Unready, of course. In fact, so far from true metaphysical readiness is she that if she worked for eight hundred years she'd never make it. It's a distinct possibility that future dictionaries may well read: unready adj. see Sarah Palin.

We now turn to our other example, a candidate so finely prepared as to be ready not only for the presidency, but also to take over the role of lord god almighty if a vacancy should occur. What lent this figure his superb aura of readiness? Well, he went to college a lot. He worked as a "community organizer," which, as far as I've been able to gather, is a kind of combination of Gandhi, Mr. Chips, and Louie the Bagman. He put his name to two books that people "edited" for him. He served a short period as state representative in which he voted "present" on most bills, and an even shorter period as a U.S. senator.

What did this astonishing record of preparation lead to? So ready was Obama that it turned out he didn't even have to govern, leaving it to assorted corrupt, incompetent, and insane members of his party. Instead, he devoted his time to golf, dinner parties, and bowing to foreign potentates. The result has been economic stagnation, international humiliation, and a party going into the midterms on the same trajectory as a kamikaze whose pilot realizes at the last minute that he is aiming not at an enemy battleship but at a large midocean rock.

We begin to get a clear picture of the media concept of political "readiness." The candidate truly prepared for office exhibits the following traits:

  • Knows how to play the game
  • Knows how to lie, prevaricate, and manipulate
  • Went to the right schools and met the right people
  • Never rocked any boats
  • Is an American liberal

...or we could instead simply say that the concept of "readiness" as promoted by the media and various political actors is yet another con. Readiness is a bogus proposition created to provide another handful of mud to throw at candidates from outside the system. It's no coincidence that it's being used almost exclusively in reference to Tea Party candidates. Some, like Christine O'Donnell, could probably use a little more seasoning. Others, such as Joe Miller, are by their records manifestly ready for anything, including Godzilla and World War IV.

But it doesn't really matter, because this country was built on unreadiness. Nobody could have been adequately prepared for the task of settling North America and creating the world's first true democracy to rule it. We were utterly unready for the challenge of taming an entire continent, of battling tribal enemies of a ferocity and intelligence found nowhere else in the world, of throwing off the control of the most powerful empire in history, of ending chattel slavery, of destroying the imperialists, the fascists, and the communists. We were never ready to tackle any of it. And if we'd waited until we were ready, as our wise and insightful media appears to be suggesting, it would never have been done.

Readiness, in the media sense, amounts to being a synonym for political acceptability. It has brought us corruption, stagnation, and incompetence as a way of life. It's time for people who are not part of the network, people who have done other things with their lives as opposed to preparing for a political career, to have their shot. People who may well not be ready, who will make mistakes, who will do the unexpected, who will not play the tired old game. We must face the challenges of this new millennium the same way we faced all the others -- ready or not.

So here we've reached the end of the essay without a single Aethelred reference. Maybe I wasn't actually ready to write this thing after all.

J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker and will edit the forthcoming Military Thinker.
His book, Death by Liberalism, will be published by Broadside Books this January.

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