Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mansfield Pontificates, Obfuscates

Harvey Mansfield Pontificates
P. Schultz
December 1, 2012

            Here is an interview with Harvey Mansfield, a professor of political science at Harvard University, which illustrates that he used to be thoughtful. But then he is 80 years old and perhaps there has been a hardening of his arteries.

This is, for me, one of the weirdest interviews I have ever read. For example, Mansfield argues that Obama won a “sneaky victory” because he did not say what he would do in the future. I had two responses to this assertion. First, how would Mansfield describe Shrub’s victory in 2000? Second, given that Mansfield also asserts that the Democrats pander to all kinds of victims – excluding of course pesky political science professors at Harvard who like to play the victim too – why is it that Obama did not or would not talk about his future plans? I mean if he really is a panderer, why not talk about his future plans as that would solidify his stature with those he is allegedly pandering to?

            Ah, but perhaps there is another explanation for why Obama was so vague regarding his future plans. And perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the progressives, whom Mansfield argues Obama represents, are not the radical democrats he claims they are. And it is a bit difficult for me to see those who were instrumental in building our highly bureaucratized, “national security” state as radical democrats.

            And talk about vague. Well, what Mansfield has to say about the Republicans is about as vague as is possible. And the crux for Mansfield seems to be what he calls “entitlements,” without of course ever specifying which programs he is talking about. But these “entitlements,” by which I don’t suppose he means the kind of tax breaks that people like the Romney’s get, are undermining our constitutional order, which again in Mansfield’s telling has no substance. And, of course, here it is crucial for Mansfield to be vague as it would be hard to square our “national security” state with the Constitution as it was understood by, say, Washington or even Hamilton, to say nothing of Jefferson or Madison.

            Oh well, as noted, Mansfield is 80 years old and so I guess we should go easy on him, shake our heads and think, “Hey, he’s an old man. What did you expect?”

And another post on Mansfield:

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