Clinton has her faults, but her strengths would have been on display here: a deep understanding of the federal government, a belief that it is the president’s job to solve national problems, an unparalleled enthusiasm for convening experts and synthesizing their knowledge into policy, an unusual enthusiasm for the details of interagency collaboration, a relentless focus on operational details.
President Clinton would be able to tell you where every vaccine in development stood, how fast tests were coming back in all 384 metropolitan areas, what PPE stocks looked like in every midsize city in the country. We would not be free of the coronavirus, but unlike under this administration, we would have a plan, and competent people running it, and we would’ve had it in place for months and months by now.
But that is not the world we live in. In this world, the unqualified reality TV star who won 3 million fewer votes captured the White House and botched the pandemic.
Idiot gets elected, not the competent one.
Moreover, Biden lacks some of Clinton’s virtues: her policy sharpness, her attention to detail, her polymathic hunger for information, her obvious delight in the details of governance. The difference between them was on display in April when she endorsed him. There’s nothing wrong with Biden’s performance, but Clinton is by far the more knowledgeable and precise in her discussion of Covid-19.
In that way, Biden neutralizes some of the more high-minded critiques of Clinton. What he has that she didn’t is fuzzier: a reputation for likability, for relatability. Clinton was beloved by her staff, by those who met her or worked with her, but the person they described was rarely the person the public saw. Biden’s warmth shines through on the trail. There’s no “you’re likable enough” burns in his background.
This time around it’s between the likeable idiot and the incompetent idiot.
The entire method of selection fails in – in Ezra’s own view that is – getting someone even vaguely competent into office. Yet Ezra is convinced that whoever does get elected should ever much more power over us and the way we lead our lives.
Ezra’s telling us that the incompetents should have more power. Hunh?