Friday, June 15, 2012

Holy Mackeral, I Agree With the National Review on Something!

Really, honestly, truly: I am not being sarcastic or facetious here. This is right on:
The president... is not intended to be the personification of our national identity. The president is simply the chief executive in the federal bureaucracy, and the government is not the receptacle of our national greatness. The cult of the presidency is bad for America. (And the cult of the commander in chief is even worse.) Nobody talks about the dignity of the office of dog-catcher, but the president is a manager of dog-catchers.... But it isn’t only the presidency. Political job descriptions are in the process of being transformed into semi-aristocratic titles. It is to my ear ridiculous when politicos refer to Mitch McConnell as “Leader McConnell” or Nancy Pelosi as “Leader Pelosi.” It is even worse when politicians refer to themselves that way, as Nancy Pelosi does. Long-out-of-office functionaries continue to be known as Governor Palin or Governor Sununu or President Bush (or President Bush) until death. It is part of the American way that we do not invest people with titles. Elected officials are not our rulers; they are our employees, a condition about which they need constant reminding.
And then, just to prove it wasn't a fluke, another National Review writer agreed with the first (via Sullivan):
I’m with Kevin and the president in preferring “Mr. Romney” over “Governor Romney.” The primary debates were all “Governor”, “Senator” and “Mr. Speaker”, even though there wasn’t a single governor, senator, or speaker on the stage. What’s the point of a republic if a guy can serve one term in the House of Representatives in the early Seventies and be addressed as “Congressman” until he keels over half-a-century later? Turning offices into titles of nobility is, to my mind, even more unrepublican than having a bunch of marquesses and viscounts queening it up because “Senator”, “Governor” et al. are titles that by definition are in the gift of the people and, when the people are no longer willing to bestow said title or the office-holder declines to submit himself to their adjudication, the use thereof should cease.
It would be too much to expect it to be unanimous, I suppose. Authority-worship still has a voice in their Corner. But still: two of three. Time to raise a toast to William F. Buckley, I guess.

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