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Or Just Get a Dog

Here’s a letter to the New York Times:

Today on your Blogginghheads, Daniel Schultz and Mark Kleiman debate “whether President Obama is a great moral leader.”  A much more interesting question – one likely to probe, not facile disagreements over political strategy, but genuinely interesting phenomena such as human irrationality – is “Why on earth does anyone look to the President of the United States for moral leadership?”

Barack Obama is a full-time politician.  Like every member of this breed, he specializes in winning popularity contests called “elections.”  To this end, he hones his skills at posing for cameras and at making pretty speeches in which he prattles platitudinously in tones that trick uncritical ears into hearing whatever it is they wish to hear.  He specializes also at twisting arms behind closed doors in order to transfer taxpayer booty to those interest groups whose good favor is most crucial for his and his party’s future electoral success.

Anyone earnestly searching for moral leadership would do better to spurn all counsel on ethical matters offered by the likes of Mr. Obama and, instead, pick the brains of a neighborhood plumber or hairstylist.  These people, at least, specialize neither in deception nor in spending other people’s money.

Donald J. Boudreaux