I had a GMTA moment when I read this article from Kevin Williamson at NRO:
As I was lunching with a few conservative political types earlier this week, the subject turned, as it does, to the 2016 field. When the name of a highly regarded former governor came up, the judgment was unequivocal: “He’s just so . . . boring.” That was not intended as an endorsement.
It should be.
Barack Obama has been anything but boring. “May you live in exciting times” may be a fake Chinese curse, but the wisdom communicated therein is real. Thought experiment: Consider the presidency of Barack Obama from the point of view of the sort of person who is likely to support such men. Having vanquished George W. Bush, he has now given us: a military mess in Iraq complete with the deployment of U.S. troops and a mission that is probably unachievable; the continuing disintegration of Afghanistan and its reversion to a jihadist safe haven; an economy that is shrinking significantly and probably is dipping back into recession; a defense and intelligence apparatus that is abusing its powers and the trust of the American people in ways that are not obviously related to defeating terrorist plots; millions without health insurance; millions out of work; corruption in our public institutions, ranging from the IRS to our universities; a self-aggrandizing political elite that is busy enriching itself through the vulgar exploitation of political connections while incomes for ordinary Americans stagnate or decline; etc. There has been a great deal of excitement, but if you voted for Obama because you were angry about the wars, the surveillance state, and the economy, things aren’t looking any better at all.
The most boring president of the modern era probably was Dwight Eisenhower, whose administration was marked by relative peace, prosperity, and confidence in the effectiveness and integrity of our institutions. The most boring president ever surely was Calvin Coolidge, who pinched pennies and kept at his plow, more or less leaving the country free to go about its own business, which turned out to be an excellent economic program.
I myself don’t have a 2016 candidate, but I’ll say this: I don’t want an exciting one. I don’t need to be inspired and don’t desire to be awed or ruled. I want what has been missing these past years: a responsible, sober, honest, predictable federal government, one that recognizes its own limits — constitutional and epistemic — and under which the president is not a hero but a steward.
If you asked people who was the greatest general in WWII most people would pick Patton over Eisenhower because Patton was flashy and exciting and won battles while Ike was boring and spent his time a long way from the battlefield – some people say Ike was basically a glorified bureaucrat. But the reason that Patton was able to be flashy and exciting and win battles was because his boss was boring.
My uncle used to say, “Variety is the spice of life, but monotony gets the bills paid.” Right now we could use some monotony in the White House.
True success requires lots of monotony. Even jobs that are fun and exciting typically involve a lot or hard, boring work. You want to be an NFL star and win a Super Bowl? You’re gonna have to spend a lot of time on the practice field and the weight room and watching game films of your opponents. The typical pro or Olympic athlete spends hours every day for years and years just to get a few minutes of glory.
Obama loves being POTUS because he craves the spotlight and privileges that come with the job. But he hates the job and he never put in the hard work to earn it. George W. Bush famously said “Presidentin’ is hard” and he was right. They told us that Obama was a lightworker but in reality he is just a light worker.
We need a boring president. Maybe a couple of them in a row. Someone who will get the bills paid, and make the government operate more efficiently, competently and honestly. We need someone who will run government instead of trying to expand or transform it.