I Want a President Who's 'Unteachable' (But Not Like Obama)

Back in the glorious days of the Reagan administration, Democratic wise man Clark Clifford opined that Reagan was an “amiable dunce.” That is Eighties-speak for today’s complaint that President Obama is “unteachable.”

What people are complaining about right now that President Obama keeps on keeping on his agenda despite the evidence obvious to us, from Obamacare to Syria, that the president’s world view is completely out of joint and radically out of alignment with reality.

Which explains why his presidency has been such a disaster.

That is exactly the complaint that the Clark Cliffords were making 30-odd years ago. They knew in 1981 and 1982 that Reagan was an ideological fool and that he would bring the country to its knees with his ridiculous foreign policy and his lunatic supply-side economics and reckless tax cuts. Everyone in Georgetown agreed.

Only the smart set was wrong back then.

What about now? If you are a gentry liberal you think the president is doing the right thing by withdrawing from the Middle East. Arms are for hugging, after all. You applaud the president for “politicizing” the anti-Christian killings in Roseburg, Oregon, by an African-American killer. Because we have to do something to stop gun violence. You have his back on Black Lives Matter because police brutality, on “affordable health care” because insurance company profits, on bringing equality for gays because love wins, on protecting women from the “rape culture” on campus and microaggressions in the classroom. You don’t think the president needs teaching. You think he is right.

I agree with the liberals. I too want a president who will stick to his guns, a president, though, who will keep advancing in a conservative direction despite the hail of liberal artillery and the squibs from MSNBC. I just think that the liberal worldview, in which Barack Obama was carefully taught and to which he sticks like glue, is a dreadful and reactionary fantasy ideology.

We can spend all night arguing about why Barack Obama believes so many things that ain’t so. Perhaps a good way to think about it is to read about Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party in Britain, who divorced his wife because she didn’t want to send their kid to a bog-standard comprehensive school.

But I think it all boils down to one question: Do you really think, Barack and Jeremy, that government is the way to get to your society of equality and liberation and emancipation? As I understand it, your ideal world to which the arc of history is bending is one in which there is no domination, no exploitation, no oppression. How in the world do you expect to get that from big government, when government is force and the only results that a sane man can expect from the application of government force are domination, exploitation and oppression? Not to mention the odd death camp?

And here is another question. As I understand it, the first job of government is to protect its people from enemies foreign and domestic. So why does President Unteachable do nothing about foreign enemies and domestic gang-bangers, but bring the full force of government against young  men on campus and white Hispanics?

Enough of that. Let’s talk about the next unteachable President of the United States.

Could it be that the reason that the Republican Party multitudes are restless is that we are the unreconstructed cranks that don’t really want much from government, except its basic functions of defending us against enemies foreign and domestic?

To get that, we would need a president who is unteachable. We want a president that just can’t be taught to believe that America is to blame for all the world’s problems. We want a president that just can’t be taught to think that young inner-city black male gang-bangers are helpless victims of racist police. We just want a simple sort of guy or gal who can’t get past the idea that the president’s job is to protect us from foreign totalitarian ideologies and local thugs, and that’s about it.

I want a president that’s so unteachable that he or she just can’t get the point about the fight against inequality. Or fighting to eliminate disparate impact. Or fighting to make housing “affordable.” Suppose, my president would say, I’m a struggling businessman, wouldn’t it pay me to hire the traditionally marginalized? Wouldn’t it be more profitable than hiring stuck-up Ivy League grads? Wouldn’t the way to make housing affordable be to reduce regulations and pricey environmental requirements rather than flood the nation with cheap credit?

An unteachable President? It could work, as long as the president was conservative.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.