Michael Barone is one of my top five favorite writers on politics and American culture. He is sensibly conservative without being on the fringe. He is willing to see the good in those he disagrees with but he doesn't throw out his mind in the process. This is what made his recent article "Dodge Facts, Skip Details, Govern Chicago Style" so engaging. I urge you to read it.
Michael Barone makes three telling criticisms of President Obama. In the process he significantly corrects my expression of good will about the president's approach to international tensions that I posted late last week. He refers to the president's policy toward Iran as "propitiating" our avowed enemies. I like that term better than some of the other criticisms I have read. I also think that after my piece appeared a great deal of new information suggests that Obama's "coolness" is potentially miscalculated. Barone writes that the president's "friendly words" are based on an assumption that the hearts of Kim Jon Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejab can be melted and then shaped for a new day of peace. Barone rightly questions the very argument I tried to make last week and reminds me of how much I want to see the perspective of this president in a good light but how often I am growing disappointed day-by-day. Barone makes my case far better than I can.
This all demonstrates why I do not wade into politics too often. I try to read and form my own opinions but when all is said and done I am not an expert, just an educated citizen with profound interest in the well-being of my nation and peace in the world. I guess what I find unattractive about so many conservative arguments is the way they are made and the failure to deal with modern issues in the light of true conservativism. Sometimes the arguments certain conservatives make are excellent but the manner in which they are advanced is too rhetorical and polarizing. My interests are far more in the advance of Christ's missional Kingdom and the making of disciples than in the advance of American values. One thing I am sure about—the two are simply not the same.