Maybe the public schools should reinstate those wood, metal and print shop classes they required us boys to take until the mid-1960s. Apparently, we are devolving rapidly back to the Lemur stage of primate tool use skills (no offense intended to my Lemur friends who struggle on bravely without the advantage of opposable thumbs. We middle-aged white guys, on the other hand, seem to have become all thumbs.)
Not that we should let off the hook women and people of color who also hold positions of responsibility in government. The recently re-elected mayor of New Orleans's almost absurd incompetence and lethargy in the face of his duties puts him right up there with the white guys in Boston who have proven themselves utterly unable to build and maintain a tunnel. D--- it, prairie dogs build tunnels better than Bostonians.
And our once estimable secretary of state, Ms. Condoleezza Rice, has proven to be a more able concert pianist than conductor of diplomacy. I have talked to some very senior figures in Europe and here at home (Bush supporters, no less) who were staggered by the secretary's failure to nail down the terms and conditions for troop deployment with France before permitting the French resolution to go to a vote in the Security Council.
It used to be the attribute of adult homo sapiens that when they tripped, they got back up on their hind legs and moved on. But today, we seem to stay on all fours -- often with our heads in rather unfortunate places.
For instance, after tripping in Lebanon, The State Department seems to have decided to start giving money away to Lebanese, willy-nilly, in some demented compassion contest with Iran's Hezbollah cutthroats. Conservative critics, equally dazed, demand not a penny be spent -- as a matter of some principle.
The rather obvious competent policy option -- that seems to be ignored by both sides -- is to calculatedly offer Lebanon not only money, but things Iran can never provide: diplomatic, business, engineering and other help, re-integration into the international world -- on condition that the Lebanese government behave in various ways inimical to Hezbollah. In fact, most Lebanese want to move in that direction, but need our help.
But our State Department, once again panicked into premature action, offered free money, while conservative critics just want to run off with their ball -- when there is an important game to be played -- and won.
Some people of a theological bent see the current mess as a sign of God's imminent apocalyptic plans for us. And they may well be right. I prefer, however, to look on the optimistic side and consider that there may just be a politically curable stupidity bacteria in the air. But it certainly seems like a pandemic.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.