Adults In Charge

Back in 2001, during the first days of the Bush presidency, Peggy Noonan (reflecting a Republican meme of the time) wrote:

It continues to look as if the adults are in charge, and Mr. Bush is looking like a young man who's up to it and maybe more than up to it.

Well, as we now know, they weren’t, he wasn’t, and he could never be. The childishness of his administration, it’s petulance and ego-centrism, wrecked our standing in the world and even spilled over into the campaign to replace Bush: All of those complaints that Obama would rather talk to an enemy than fight.

Today, we’re seeing just how high the infantilism went in the McCain/Palin campaign, the heirs to Bush. In today’s New York Times is a story about tensions between the two, recounting a comment by someone in the McCain camp:

{I]t was bad enough that Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska unwittingly scheduled, and then took, a prank telephone call from a Canadian comedian posing as the president of France. Far worse, the adviser said, she failed to inform her ticketmate about her rogue diplomacy.

As a senior adviser in the Palin campaign tells the story, the charge is absurd. The call had been on Ms. Palin’s schedule for three days and she should not have been faulted if the McCain campaign was too clueless to notice.

So… Palin, who is not supposed to be talking with anyone (let alone a foreign leader) without clearance from McCain, excuses her being scammed because nobody told her “No”—that time. In other words, she had no responsibility for her actions because the “adult” (McCain) didn’t notice what she was doing. And McCain, the supposedly responsible one, wasn’t bothering to pay attention to the younger child.

Frankly, I’m glad we don’t have either of these in positions of critical responsibility for the country. We haven’t had an adult in charge for quite some time (Noonan’s claim notwithstanding—one I’d bet she’d withdraw could she do so); it will be nice to see one in the White House.

Though McCain, through his gracious concession speech, has shown that he does have the capacity for adult behavior, it has been Obama, these past two years, who has acted with maturity, tact, and sense. His speech in Grant Park was a masterpiece of focus, care, and determination.

Perhaps, this time, the adults really will be in charge.

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Comments

That could be a new slogan and an ongoing theme.

Nice piece, Aaron.

It was so nice to watch Obama the other night.  No silliness, no pandering, no excuses.

And even with the understanding that not-yet adults could engage in intelligent conversation.

It was very enjoyable -- as well as historic.