September 22, 2011

You are what you DO

Charlene recommends this piece by Richard Fernandez, Bayes and Nice People:

...Peretz, Brooks, and Noonan are intelligent, well-educated people. Nobody has seriously suggested they are either perverse or evil. Now they see the truth. But once upon a time they didn’t have a clue. So the disturbing question is: how did they get it wrong? Setting aside for a moment the fact that someone slipped past, the most pressing problem is to determine why the system failed. Because as someone at Andrew Klavan’s blog said, “the republic can survive a Barack Obama; it is far less likely to survive the multitude of fools who made him president.”

The fact they are now getting it right is a good thing. John Maynard Keynes once wrote, “when the facts change, I change my opinion. What do you do, sir?”  But Keynes was not not quite correct.  What he should have said was that “when new information comes to light, I change my opinion about what I saw. What do you do, sir?”

The first person to rigorously understand how this process worked was Thomas Bayes....

Fernandez thinks that people like Brooks were fooled by Obama, and Edwards, because they are "nice" people who don't come into contact with con-men and sharps. That's probably a lot of it. Charlene, for instance, deals with plaintiff's lawyers every day. She was totally not taken in by that slime-animal Edwards. She's seen those pretty boys a thousand times.

I was armored against the wiles of Obama in various other ways. One of them is the old battles I had concerning President Bush. So much of what was said about him was simply stupid, and I kept butting my head against the wall trying to explain it. The principle is very simple. You are what you DO. Not what you say, or hope, or aspire to, or dress like. (Bush, for instance, acted as president almost exactly as he did as governor of Texas. And his Texas business life was much of a piece with that. So the people who said that he was a preppy Ivy-Leaguer type were being brain-dead stupid.)

My dad, who was a very smart guy about life and people, once said to me when I was young, "By the time a man is 40, he is where he wants to be in life." It seemed like an odd and severe judgement to me at the time, but I haven't encountered any exceptions.

I remember telling people, "Obama has never accomplished anything. He's not going to change at his age." I was right.

I'll give you my piece of sage advice—take it, you're welcome, no extra charge—which I took from NRO's Jay Nordlinger: "You pretty much know all you need to know about a person if you know their positions on abortion and Israel."

Oh, and here's another guy who was right...

Posted by John Weidner at September 22, 2011 8:12 AM

Here is another by Richard Fernandez today,

Mullen said that “with ISI support, Haqqani operatives planned and conducted that truck bomb attack, as well as the assault on our embassy,” and “we also have credible evidence that they were behind the June 28th attack against the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul and a host of other smaller but effective operations.” Most tellingly he added “the Haqqani network acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency.” Pakistan attacked the national territory of a country at which it was at peace, that had supported it in the past diplomatically and from which it receives billions of dollars in aid. It was an act as perfidious as the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Nor is this the worst of it. It is not inconceivable to think that al-Qaeda was also a “veritable arm of Pakistan’s ISI, though perhaps with assistance from the Middle East.

I wonder if Bush suspected the ISI involvement in 9/11.
For us, knowing that Taliban was ISI creation, it is surprising only how long it took US to admit this AQ-ISI linkage.

Posted by: Gian at September 22, 2011 8:50 PM

"Obama has never accomplished anything. He's not going to change at his age"

You would have been disastrously wrong if you were Tsar applying the logic to Lenin.

Posted by: Gian at September 22, 2011 8:58 PM

Well, my impression is that Lenin accomplished much within the rather cramped and limited sphere of revolutionaries-in-exile. He wrote a lot of books, started groups and newspapers...

Posted by: John Weidner at September 23, 2011 11:48 AM

"Obama has never accomplished anything. He's not going to change at his age"

You would have been disastrously wrong if you were Tsar applying the logic to Lenin.

Posted by: JenniferHanson at October 24, 2012 11:24 PM
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