Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
May 18, 2005
BLOG: Quick Links 5/18/05

*Mark the Pundit wants to know who picks up the check for the evacuation of the Capitol & White House.

*Josh Marshall writes a surprisingly spin-free review of David McCullough's new book on George Washington, but in the course of it, he touches on the clash between the modern cult of authenticity and the way Washington forced himself to play a continuous role, that of the larger-than-life heroic figure, and the benefits that role had for his leadership of the nation in times of crisis. Nobody measures up to Washington, of course, but it's hard to read this and not think of more modern presidents - Reagan, Bush, FDR - who knew the importance of maintaining a consistent public persona (Clinton too had the ability to "put on" who he wanted to be in public, but what Clinton lacked was the constancy to make that public persona convincing - while the others succeeded by forcing themselves to be the same under every circumstance, Clinton's gift was to be different in every circumstance).

*On a related note, I can't stand articles like this one, on Bruce Springsteen, that trash a performer for inauthenticity for making that kind of effort to have a consistent public persona. Typical critic to love all Bruce's acoustic albums and not the really good stuff. This is implausible:

From the post-Landau period, the harrowing masterpiece Nebraska is the only record you can push on the nonbelievers, followed by the grossly underrated Tunnel of Love.

Um, no - he seems to have forgotten in this passage that Born in the USA had 7 top-10 hits on Top 40 Radio. (My wife doesn't love Bruce but she loved The Rising). I regard Nebraska more as fodder for the hardest-core Bruce fans; I've never met anyone who said it was their favorite Bruce record. On the other hand, he's right that Darkness on the Edge of Town is the album that separates true Bruce fans from the rest of the world. The new album doesn't have any really good songs, but has a few that are OK - Maria's Bed, Leah, and Long Time Comin' are all pretty good tunes. As for "All the Way Home," I preferred the original Southside Johnny version.

*John Fund wants to know why we don't use more commissions like the military base-closing commission. He has a point, although such commissions can only work in similar circumstances: when Congress agrees to overall spending cuts but can't agree on where to find them.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:44 AM | Blog 2002-05 | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Reagan was a master of the consistent public persona, no doubt. Bush I (whom I assume you are referring to)? You have to be kidding. By the end of his failed reign everyone hated that guy for a variety of reasons. He could not have had a less consistent public image.

As far as Bruce goes I think it is pretty easy to like The Wild, the Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle ( terrific album that is very pure and it has Rosalita on it) and Greetings from Asbury Park which is a little darker but has some catchy tunes.

Posted by: jim at May 18, 2005 11:53 AM

No, I mean the current Bush. I agree that Bush I was, whatever his other virtues, not a guy who projected the strong, consistent public image needed by a real leader.

Posted by: The Crank at May 18, 2005 12:04 PM

I guess since this admin is so gifted in spin that he does have a consistent public persona however tag lines like "Compassionate conservative", "the education president", "the balanced budget president', "the peace president" "the no nation-building president", "the we will hunt down the people that brought down the towers president", "the I don't spend much time thinking or caring about Osama Bin Laden president" and on and on would seem to fly in the face of consistency. I guess I should read the latest White House briefing to get my facts straight.

Posted by: jim at May 18, 2005 3:02 PM

I forgot the "I'll keep reading the Timmy the Goat book and look like I just crapped my pants president while planes run into buildings president".

Posted by: jim at May 19, 2005 11:46 AM
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