George Will reflects on the “political infantilism” that asks which presidential candidate you would “prefer to have take care of you if you were sick” and which “would you rather invite to dinner at your home,” along with “the dominant superstition of American politics” that feeds “national narcissism, namely the idea that events can be “controlled by a president doing— even just saying — something.”
For once, he writes, it’d be nice to hear a candidate like Mitt Romney say something like the following:
I am not running to be your friend, because I hope you pick your friends from among people you actually know and for reasons unrelated to politics. And I will not insult your intelligence by claiming to feel your pain, which really is yours. Neither will I tell you that as president I would pacify distant mobs. I am running just to make government somewhat less destructive, to partially ameliorate the country’s largest afflictions and to make the world a bit less dangerous.
My candidacy comes down to an eight-word question, and it is not ‘Will you call me about your tummy ache?’ Rather, it is: ‘Is this really the best we can do?’ It is difficult to prevent Americans from briskly creating wealth, but bad choices by both parties have done so. My opponent is making many promises, although a simple apology would suffice. My promise is that although I will not really create millions of jobs, I will, if Congress cooperates, remove some of the obstacles to your doing so.
If you want a president who is the center of a government-centered society, pick the other fellow. If you endorse a dependency agenda — more and more people dependent in more and more ways on a government fewer and fewer are paying for — vote for the other party. If you do not share my opponent’s horror about being mostly on your own in the pursuit of happiness that you define on your own, give me a try. If it doesn’t work out, you can fire me in four years.