The Search for Wisdom in Candidates

November 11, 2010, to every veteran, of every period in our nation’s history, alive or dead, I salute you.

If you haven’t noticed, it was Wisdom that won big on November, the wisdom of the People demanding that wisdom be restored in government. Yes, the “collective wisdom” of the People I’ll take over “collective salvation” any day.

The entire purpose of the Constitution was to give substance and form to the collective wisdom of the People (aka the masses)…by an act which first required it be found in the collective minds and hands of a very few.

Just for context, in case you don’t know what a big deal that was, an English royalist at that time would have found such a deed to have been one of the most insane acts of charity imaginable. For “betters” to try to give away to “lessers” that which they could never earn, or own, and certainly never know how to use, was as unthinkable as giving a 10-Pound note to a beggar in Calcutta. A gesture completely thrown away for no good could ever come of it.

Thus a war was born that has never ended; a war over not only the true source and definition of wisdom, but, as we have seen develop, the true nature of charity.

(This notion came to me as I have been following along with Andyd’s chapter-by-chapter account of Whittaker Chamber’s Witness. It’s not every day you can read a kiss-and-tell book about being in the belly of the Communist Beast, and also come away with great literary prose and deep philosophical insights. I recommend Andyd’s little book “club” highly. It’s things like his diaries that set RedState apart from not only the Left, but most conservatives sites as well. Go read his stuff and join his “club”. Be edified.)

About Wisdom and Those Who Seem to Miss It

Even before the Nov 2 election I’d been reading here, and elsewhere, the early handicapping of GOP presidential candidates. I’m scratching my head a little, since no one has declared, especially in such a volatile political atmosphere, where things, big, big, things, can change almost daily, as to why anyone would want to waste so much time and effort discussing what equates to what the daily rainfall might be in Pali Pass on Oahu on Nov 5, 2012.

I know, in China, if there are four birds on a wire, with at least three Chinese men standing below, someone is getting down a bet as to which bird will fly off first. But unless you’re laying bets, this is ridiculous.

Then I noticed that in all the points raised so far, for and against Gov Christie, Sarah Palin, Mitch Daniels, Mitt, Rudy, Newt, Rick Perry, et al, the absence of this one…actually singular…quality that will be required to lead the United States for the next several years.

Not a word about wisdom.

Lest we forget, Ronald Reagan possessed it, and while history and pundits still cannot surmise how such a simpleton could have by-passed the mighty Media-Left alliance arrayed against him, then managed to speak directly to the aforementioned people, then through their support, smite the most evil empire in modern history…

…a few of us just smile as that one simple word, Wisdom, is still the one least grasped when we mention Ronald Reagan today. Those others still shake their heads and say “Words fail me”. Indeed, especially that word.

And no, what Ronald Reagan had cannot be faked.

I’m not looking for a consensus here as to just what Wisdom is, but that IT is definitive as to the proper ideal of leadership, and the primary criteria. Without its consideration I will not consider any political commentary on potential candidates to be serious.

To be sure, prior executive management, general historical, and economic knowledge, political savvy, all matter. Having met a payroll, having run a business also helps.

But what the people seek is wisdom…in fact, they seemed to demand it last week. They will again in 2012, of this I am sure. So I’m more interested in the things a person talks about, the questions they ask, than the books they’ve read.

Good Wisdom Hunting

So, what I will be looking for in the coming 12 months then, while the field is open, will be expressions of wisdom, or lack of it, and little more. Just taking notes, that’s all, and keeping my own counsel. And I will search against the backdrop of that wisdom already expressed by the people only seven days ago. I won’t care how many books this candidate has read, or whether he/she could beat my dog Spot in Trivia Pursuit (Spot keeps saying Hailie Selassie gave his speech to the League of Nations in 1935…misses that one every time…even Sarah Palin knows it was ’36).

All of these things were said about Ronald Reagan, interestingly by the same types of people.

So, my only request to you, in these early days; look for only this One Thing in candidates, their having used it, or their capacity for it. In truth, it is very hard to fake when broken down to it simplest components, as both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, just to name a few, have proved by the most honored of tests, demonstration.

Since Reagan, it had become routine by the media to convince people that “politcal savvy” is an accepted substitute for “wisdom” until Bill Clinton put that miscalculation to the test, for never had any American sat in the White House with more raw intelligence and greater political savvy and skills, and so embarrassed us as a nation for his wanton lack of every trait even remotely associated with wisdom. “He lied with great____” (fill in the blank. Wisdom is not one of them.) “You might want to put a little ice on that”, he said ____(same, “wisely” not one of the possible adverbs.)

One of our great political tragedies, truly…still waiting to written in full.

And next comes having no experience at all, nowhere, no how, which seems to be where we have descended. Even among academicians, who have certifiably written books all by themselves, read lots more, and given hundred upon hundreds of lectures, and thousands upon thousands of impromptu, extemporaneous statements, off-teleprompter, there is a scintilla of quantifiable skill. No wisdom mind you, but not even skill can be found now in the modern criteria for governance and leadership.

Therein also lies a tale yet to be told in full…but we already know where it leads. It seems the search for, or even treasuring of Wisdom has long since left the academy.

Of the assembled pool of potential candidates, i only group them as either having the capacity for wisdom, or possibly having already demonstrated a lapse in it, such as Gingrich and Huckaby. Those are disqualifiers for me. But for Rick Perry, Chris Christie, Mitch Daniels, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, all sitting- or ex-governors, ex-mayor Rudy Giuliani, ex-Senator Fred Thompson, private businessman Herman Cain, while each have good criteria in the prior executive management arena, they are blank slates (for the most part) in the wisdom department. In the end, for some of them, their greatest expression of wisdom will be in their preference not to run, but serve the Cause in another way.

Time will tell.

P J O’Rourke said Nov 2 was a “restraining order”. It was also a giant collective self-inflicted lash across the back of the citizenry, for we had become mortified at what we had seen and allowed to be done. It was a “restoration of order”, P J, for the violence we will see emerge, unlike the tyranny we temporarily restrained, will be under our attentive gaze now, rather than across our bowed backs.

We have regained out collective wisdom.