Thursday, March 17, 2016

Political Advice from the Past

I'm at a rare books library this week, with politics happily tuned down to a lower volume. That's true even though the library is around the corner from the Capitol Building, and almost across the street from the Supreme Court. So I was in town for Mitch McConnell's continued resistance to the eminent Merrick Garland, but I am busy doing other things.]
What do I have to say about Obama's strategy, and the Republicans' obstruction? Not much today; maybe next week. But I did get a piece of odd political advice in one of the 17th-century books I was reading yesterday. The book wasn't as useful as I had hoped it would be, and would be even less entertaining to you, but at one point the author (Thomas Scot, about whom you heard so much in grade school), throws out two couplets about the importance of guile and strategy in high office. First, he writes:

Not simple truth alone can make us fit
To beare great place in State, without great wit.

Honesty is not enough for high office; maybe necessary but not sufficient. Good-hearted simplicity is not a qualification. How that might apply to Obama and his antagonists, I leave for you to think through on your own. But Scot finishes his little epigram with these lines:

For when the Serpent comes to circumvent us,
We must be Serpents too, or else repent us.

And there, in honor of St. Patrick the expeller of serpents, is where I will leave it for today.

cross-posted from, and all comments welcome at, Dagblog

No comments: