Thursday, February 03, 2011

Comes the Hour, Comes the Man...

  Daily Beast says Egyptians are giving ElBaradei the big yawn:
In the weeks before the uprising in Egypt, former U.N. official and Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei met with a 10-member steering committee, which planned a 100-member shadow legislature and laid out a game plan for a governmental transition from Hosni Mubarak's regime. But Egyptians see ElBaradei as more of a transitional figure than a future leader; the scholarly lawyer and diplomat didn't cause much of a stir when he addressed the crowd in Tahrir Square, and many of Egypt's political groups work with him because they believe he doesn't have an agenda. He has also been absent from Egypt during several crucial periods, and is far removed from the specifics of daily politics.
LinkUB's ever-vigilant Wichita bureau keeps repeating "Kerensky, Kerensky," and I can see his point.  Look closely and I think you see some important differences--on close scrutiny, Kerensky really appears to be a more unpleasant and dangerous creature  than he appears through the rosy glow of history.   But they say history doesn't repeat itself, it just rhymes. So: Kerensky.  Franz von PapenSun Yat-SenThe Girondists (can't even remember their names, can you?).  All the other more-or-less decent and honorable aspirants who limp along at the head of the parade until they get sucked into the vortex (Adlai Stevenson?   Bill Bradley?).  What do they have in common?  Perhaps some good intentions.  Popularity with the chattering classes, and in particular, the press.  The sense that their presence on the political scene is a sort of bestowal, and that the people ought to know how lucky they are to have them.   I think the record is pretty clear that people don't take kindly to bestowals of that sort.

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