In the later novels of his “Advise and Consent” series, Allen Drury introduced the character Edward M. “Ted” Jason, an ambitious but shallow Governor of California, lauded to the skies by a fawning and uncritical news media, who is elected President. A frightening démarche by the Soviets after his inauguration reveals Jason to be a man adrift, devoid of ideas how to deal with it, the few he has being catastrophic to the country.
Our present-day fawning and uncritical news media lauded our current President to the skies based on his reputation for being the smartest guy in the room. But what’s this reputation based on? In the words of Victor Davis Hanson:
I am searching for a shred of evidence to substantiate this image of singular intellectual power and known erudition… At Chicago, did lecturer Obama write a path-breaking legal article or a book on jurisprudence that warranted the rare tenure offer to a part-time lecturer? (Has that offer ever been extended to others of like stature?) In the Illinois legislature or U.S. Senate, was Obama known as a deeply learned man of the Patrick Moynihan variety? Whether as an undergraduate, law student, lawyer, professor, legislator or senator, Obama was given numerous opportunities to reveal his intellectual weight. Did he ever really? On what basis did Harvard Law Dean Elena Kagan regret that Obama could not be lured to a top billet at Harvard?
The President is a man who rose without trace, going from a do-nothing stint as Harvard Law Review editor to a do-nothing stint as a lecturer at the University of Chicago to a do-nothing state senatorship to a do-nothing term as junior senator from Illinois. In all that time he never produced anything that would earn him a reputation as a man of ideas or vision. All he did was get his ticket punched in the right spots.
Even in the highest office in the nation he’s produced little but bad ideas transformed into bad law by Congressional spoilsmen. He’s never said anything notable or quotable. Ultimately he’s an empty suit, a Ted Jason made flesh. Let’s hope that his term isn’t ultimately as damaging.