Congrats Hugh. Your questioning will bring a gravitas to the debates that has been missing for a few cycles, certainly your Monday Spengler moment would indicate your desire to do just that. I have been haunted by your thoughts there all week.
Reading George Weigel at NR yesterday on Putin and Ukraine is a stark reminder of the lack of seriousness not just the media, but many western leaders, seem to have on world events:
No, the deeper reason for Europe’s “catastrophic misreading” of Putin and Russia is Europe’s lack of belief in its own civilizational project, which manifests itself in its military and political weakness — its refusal to defend itself, either with arms or with ideas. Europe wants to be left alone with its pleasures, happily uninvolved in the Hobbesian world Putin has created to the east of Poland’s eastern and southern borders; Ukraine is a bother, because the people who made the Maidan Revolution of Dignity have the disturbing tendency to insist that “European values” involve more than six-week paid vacations in a womb-to-tomb welfare state. Thus Europe tacitly acquiesces in Putin’s gross violations of the international law to which Europe pays such homage, and the Baltic states are, rightly, very, very worried — as the rest of Europe ought to be.
It seems as if we believe in nothing so much as our own pleasure. Which is why Ross Douthat’s column yesterday on the “Obama/Christian” question, while insightful, misses the point. The question is not about Christianity – it is about Obama.
The question, which has been echoing amongst the media and punditry for over a week now (I even made passing reference to it Sunday last) is a political ploy, not an inquiry into religion. It is an effort to make the 2016 election cycle about something besides the state of the US and the world today, namely Barack Obama. For much of the media policies and actions are irrelevant; what matters is electing someone cool, mostly so we can feel cool in the process.
The good news is they are asking about Barack Obama’s faith, not Hillary Clinton’s. Hillary Clinton is uncool. She hopes Obama and her husband’s cool will rub off and be enough to carry the day, but she herself just does not have it.
There are limits to the force of personality, reality television notwithstanding. The checkout stand at the grocery store’s obsession with the weirdness that is Bruce Jenner notwithstanding, events eventually demand seriousness. Current events are very serious.