October 7, 2008

The opiate of the trendy liberal...

Peter Guttman has written a piece which argues that no one should be President who hasn't traveled. (He's a travel writer!) I think he's got it exactly backwards...

...Although historians will long debate how this country arrived at the global mess it's now in, it seems clear that much of it could have been prevented. In fact, I believe that a relatively simple amendment to the Constitution could prevent it from happening again. Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, drafted in 1787, says that only natural-born Americans, at least 35 years of age, who have lived in the country for 14 years can serve as president or vice president. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has proposed (apparently with his friend, Arnold Schwarzenegger, firmly in mind) that this antiquated provision could best be corrected by opening the presidency to foreign-born U.S. citizens.

[It's hard to debate this guy, since the "global mess" is not defined--sloppy writing. War on Terror? Financial crisis? We're not popular in Belgium? Maybe it's the old "Europeans are so much more sophisticated and nuanced than us crude cowboy Americans" line. I'm guessing he is NOT thinking of Schwarzenegger as a solution to anything. For the record I don't think we are in a "global mess."]

But this adjustment misses the real point. Although a revision to this section is much needed, I believe that qualifications should not be loosened but rather tightened. I suggest the Constitution be amended to require that candidates for the presidency (and vice presidential selections as well) have visited a minimum of 20 countries. The amendment would require that each visit would have been made more than four years before the candidate's possible inauguration and that it would have lasted at least 48 hours. This serves as proof that a candidate is genuinely interested in, and possibly even knowledgeable about, the world around him or her.

[I would argue the opposite. The person who has travelled that much has likely lost the clarity of vision of what America is all about, and in fact probably never had it in the first place. I propose that to be eligible for the Presidency, a person should have lived at least twelve years in rural or heartland America, doing some real job. (Not government or foundation or academic or journalist).]

In the 21st century (unlike the period during which the Constitution was written), travel no longer means days of arduous journey by stagecoach or months aboard a steamship to reach an overseas destination. In a country that hopes to lead the world toward a more enlightened future, it is no longer acceptable to allow the reins of American leadership to reside in the hands of anyone lacking what is perhaps the most valuable credential of all -- the experience of foreign travel.
[If the Founding Fathers had imagined that people would be gadding about aimlessly as we do now, they would have considered it a bad thing. For most people travel is a substitute for deep thought and commitment to things bigger than the self. It's the opiate of the trendy liberal.]

Sadly, we ignored a red flag during our previous two presidential campaigns. Quite simply, a middle-aged man of considerable means and privilege who has freely chosen in his first fortysomething years on this planet to visit fewer than four countries (of the almost 200 United Nations' members) should not be permitted to captain our nation. It is plainly irresponsible to allow a blindfolded driver to navigate through the increasingly chaotic rush-hour traffic of global development, aided only by an off-key chorus of back-seat drivers...

[He misunderstands the Presidency. If the President is steering the car he is failing his duty. (Think Carter.) What the President is supposed to do is to SEE WHEREwe want to get to, and continually nudge the thousands of drivers of our government to move that way.]

...Our recent myopic, good-versus-evil attitude toward foreign policy has been one of the obvious results. Our current cartoon perspective on the world could have been sensibly altered with the experience-tempered subtlety and sophistication of leaders who have spent time outside the country.

[It's the "good-versus-evil attitude" that is reasonable. We face opponents who are evil. And we ARE the good guys. "experience-tempered subtlety and sophistication" are just code-words for moral relativism. and a decadence that will never fight against evil, even if it's throat is about to be sawed through by terrorists.]

I believe that President Bush has been gravely HARMED by the traveling he has done in office. He started out like the child who sees that the Emperor has no clothes, and isn't afraid to point it out. He broke silly taboos, for instance by saying openly that we would defend Taiwan. And demanding that the Palestinians abandon terrorism before getting any more concessions. But we haven't seen much of that refreshing candor lately---too much traveling, I'd guess.

Posted by John Weidner at October 7, 2008 6:47 AM
Weblog by John Weidner