In our fragmented, minute-by-minute universe, we get to thinking of the president the United States, a certain George Bush, as the man who blew the Big Blow rescue operation in New Orleans, nominated a crony to the Supreme Court, and now, may lose his arch political strategist over the Judith Miller/Valerie Plame affair.
Out of the air comes the appointment of Ben Bernanke to succeed Alan Greenspan as Grand Keeper of Economic Prosperity, and the market reminds us of how much more presidents do than just get in trouble with partisan rivals and the news media.
The market quickly signaled its deep approval of Bernanke, the president's chief economic adviser, and of the prospects for his acting with wisdom and prudence as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. That is to say, the market danced in the street. It uncorked champagne bottles. It made whoopee.
Which is what markets do when the president of the United States acts maturely and in the interest of freedom.
The Wall Street Journal, which mussed up Bush a little last week for his Miers nomination, will surely be leading over time the cheering section forming to welcome to the Fed chairmanship an economist of unmistakably pro-freedom, pro-common sense credentials.
And the point? I knew you'd ask. Surely, the point is, whereas Bush's red-state conservative constituents occasionally seem ready to throw him to the lions, that might not be real smart.
My sermon today is of human imperfection, and how in politics, when you can't get everything you want, when you want it, you just plow ahead, because sometimes in the furrow you turn up a Ben Bernanke -- a nobler find than you would expect had John Kerry or Al Gore hitched up the team. We never get all we want from a president. I am talking of my fellow conservatives, you will understand. As for the apostles of regulation, government meddling and faux equality -- the liberals, that is -- they'll have to look out for themselves.
Memory inclines me to this view. As a teenager, I saw Dwight Eisenhower frustrate the anti-New Dealers who had expected more of the first Republican president in two decades. We jumped all over Ronald Reagan for not downsizing spending or government. In retrospect, we're happy enough to honor him for cutting taxes and winning the Cold War.