The results of the presidential election still seem unreal to me. How and why a failed president and presidency was given a “do-over” is beyond my comprehension. Yes, I know about makers and takers and how taking care of the takers is supposed to ensure victory. But are there no limits to who can be elected under such a strategy? Will we someday see Hannibal Lecter or his equivalent judged suitable because he will promise enough money to gain office?
There really was no positive achievement or outcome that President Obama could run on. Courtesy of White House Dossier, Charles C. W. Cooke captured the essence of the winner’s campaign in one simple and profound paragraph:
A president of the United States just ran a reelection campaign based on the promise of government largess, exploitation of class division, the demonization of success, the glorification of identity politics, and the presumption that women are a helpless interest group; and he did so while steadfastly refusing to acknowledge the looming — potentially fatal — crisis that the country faces. And it worked.
H. L. Mencken warned us long ago. Some of his more colorful quotes certainly ring true in light of recent events:
As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. [Did he know the mistake would be re-elected? Undoubtedly.]
Democracy is a form of worship. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses.
Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.
A national political campaign is better than the best circus ever heard of, with a mass baptism and a couple of hangings thrown in.
Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than Christianity has made them good.
If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.
Most people want security in this world, not liberty.
No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.
What men value in this world is not rights but privileges.
The demagogue is one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.
The only good bureaucrat is one with a pistol at his head. Put it in his hand and it’s good-by to the Bill of Rights.
The New Deal began, like the Salvation Army, by promising to save humanity. It ended, again like the Salvation Army, by running flop-houses and disturbing the peace.
There was no limit to Mencken’s animosity toward government, politicians and the notion that democracy was a good thing. There also is not limit to the number of quotes by him that could be appended to the above list. However, one must stop somewhere. I believe the reader has grasped the point.