Friday, March 08, 2013

Barack=Benedict? The (St.) Peter Principle?

No no, bear with me here.  I'm not accusing the President of covering up child abuse, n: Ior the Pope of droning American citizens in their sleep.  But I think I can offer a common thread: I'd say that each of these guys is a man of impressive talents, not well suited to the job he chose for himself and which he struggled so hard to get.

Start with Benedict:  I'll take the word of my betters that he is an impressive theologian or at least doctrinalist (is there such a word?)--I'll take that on faith, heh.  My guess is that he just took it as given that Signor Doctrine ought to be the man at the helm.  I suspect he never caught on--until too late--that serious Poping required an entirely different set of skills.   I hear tell that he harbored a certain contempt for his predecessors' affinity for romping around the world and inhaling energy from the crowds. Apparently Benedict never grasped that romping around the world is part of the job description.  Oh, and also getting mastering the febrile and poisonous Vatican bureaucracy--something which, to be fair,  I suspect his predecessor wasn't very good at either.   To be fair, I'll grant thst nobody can do it but at least you're supposed to try.  Or maybe not; maybe the very reason he was elected was because the old bulls knew they could swallow him like a raw oyster, but that's a topic for another day.

Move on to Barack.  We know he has one good book, maybe two--certainly far better than anything Bill Ayers ever produced.  And he's certainly in the top rank for a certain form of gaseous rhetoric.  Obviously I  want to say that he, like Benedict, didn't grasp that he was transferring to a different field.  I want to say that although I admit we may get a glimmer of awareness from his choice of Joe Biden, the one man in Washington who most conspicuously offers the skills that his master so conspicuously lacks. Still, there is plenty of evidence that he went into the job figuring he could win it on his sterling character and his good intentions.  And we know how that worked out.

I shouldn't go overboard here.  I'm underwhelmed by my President but I'd sure rather have him than the Pope.  And for the good of his soul (heh) I can always hope that Obama leaves the White House a wiser man, if a man imbued by melancholy wisdom.  Unlike the Pope who--and I feel for him on this--just wants (wanted) to leave.

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