Seamanship Quotation

“In political activity, then, men sail a boundless and bottomless sea; there is neither harbour for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting-place nor appointed destination.”
— from Michael Oakeshott's
Political Education” (1951)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Obama’s character defence by George Will

Being a conservative columnist and intellectual with a bow tie George Will is uniquely qualified to offer insight into the character of Barack Obama. Indeed, he seems to see it as his duty to shepherd Republican prejudice on the subject. Here’s his latest lecture to Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich:
To the notion that Obama has a "Kenyan, anti-colonial" worldview, the sensible response is: If only. Obama's natural habitat is as American as the nearest faculty club; he is a distillation of America's academic mentality; he is as American as the other professor-president, Woodrow Wilson. A question for former history professor Gingrich: Why implicate Kenya?
Some defence.
George Will is the son of a distinguished academic. He also has degrees in political philosophy from Oxford and Princeton and has lectured at four distinguished universities himself. So, he has every right to not swoon over Obama’s academic success. However, snidely locating Obama’s presidency in the universities he attended makes no more sense than locating Ronald Reagan’s in B westerners and the Actors Guild.
What’s there to suspect about academic accomplishment anyway. Are faculty clubs not as American as think tanks?
Surely, Harvard is as American as Hollywood and its Law Review as all-American as the Tea Party.


  1. You missed the point being made by G. Will. He was not denigrating Obama's education (or source thereof) but correctly characterizing his left leaning tendency as that of academia.