Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Mencken: Politics Promotes the Devious and Mediocre

H. L. Mencken on how political campaigns for national office tends to filter out the good and competent:

The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small
electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.

The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

Baltimore Evening Sun
July 26, 1920

Mencken would have taken to the blogosphere like fleas to fur.. He could do snark with the snarkiest.

1 tell me a story:

Candy Minx 4/19/2007 7:02 AM  

Oh Menken is fantastic isn't he?

Hey Joy...I lost track of the time last week and lost a Thursday I didn't even remember it was Thursday Thirteen and didn't write a list or get around to see anyone...

Your quote is very apt for the times isn't it? Menken really holds up.

I hope you have found a new library source!

Here is my TT list for this week:

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