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It’s All Theater

Here’s a letter to the Boston Globe:

Jeff Jacoby is correct that President Obama’s competence at executing various desired policies, such as deficit reduction and reforming the VA, falls far short of candidate Obama’s competence at convincing voters that he possesses unusually high competence at executing such policies (“Obama fails to show his vaunted ‘competence,’” May 25).  But such is politics.

The typical politician’s orations are crafted to win votes and applause by duping audiences into imagining that that politician is someone who he or she certainly is not.  To believe that Barack Obama (or Mitt Romney, or Hillary Clinton, or Jeb Bush, or you name the thespian pining for stardom on the Potomac) can really perform heroic feats such as ending corruption, securing world peace, and creating more prosperity than can be created by free markets, is akin to believing that Hugh Laurie can really cure seriously ill hospital patients of mysterious ailments or that William Shatner can really pilot a starship and save the galaxy from alien villains.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030