Friday, September 13, 2013

Boring polticians

I'm reading the new biography of Margaret Thetcher, and I must admit it's heavy lifting, in more ways than one. For one thing, the author doesn't particularly like Thatcher; he believes she has no interior life. He can't comprehend a somewhat colorless lower middle class woman who, if I'm reading it correctly, was smart but not sensationally so. So, if she did not master any material or pass a test, she redoubled her efforts and slogged through the work required until she had done her absolute best.
A true Englishwoman with a stiff upper lip you could bounce bullets off, she was the diametric opposite of the lip-biting Bill Clinton, who shared his pain in Macy's window for all the world to see. She seems to have been temperamentally a true conservative by nature. Even in her youth, she never entertained liberal views. She appears to have been honest; there were no scandals or corruption in her administration. She made her husband breakfast every day that it was humanly possible to do so, and if her marriage was not happy no-one knew, and they will not find out now. She took her secrets to the grave.
She was a true straight arrow who apparently analyzed the problems of her country with dogged determination until she decided what was the right course, and then followed that course. She was not one to waste her time and energy on wishful thinking but preferred to face facts. The most dramatic event of her administration was the battle with Argentina over the Falklands, which seemed to excite her and revive patriotism among the British.
It's tough to read about such a colorless, and basically boring person, especially after reading about a colorful and flamboyant character like Winston Churchill. The American politician she most resembles is Calvin Coolidge, a man of great reserve from a New England which had not yet embraced the emotional virtues of the Kennedy family. Neither of these made a parade of compassion, or said anything particularly witty or memorable. Both, however, presided over periods of great prosperity.

4 comments:

creakypavillion said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okHGCz6xxiw
You call this boring? You think she didn't say anything memorable?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoIZdEBf9Wk

You think that was colorless? That she didn't think on her feet and was not witty or compassionate?

I'd say on the current background she sound revolutionary, brilliant and refreshingly clear-minded.

miriam said...

Boring in the sense of not being flamboyant or charismatic. She led a conventional life and kept her secrets to herself.

I didn't say she didn't think on her feet, etc. I thought she was very effective.

Not as much fun to read about as Teddy Roosevelt, though.

creakypavillion said...

Once I even read a mystery novel (and I vaguely remember it was one awarded all kinds of prizes, too), where one of characters was Teddy Roosevelt - was he at one time a police commissioner in NY?

I suspect his popularity is based on great deal of fiction...

miriam said...

Teddy Roosevelt was police commissioner. He was very popular but a bit of a showoff. It was said that he was the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral.

However, he was very intelligent and well educated--he wrote a book on the War of 1812 that is still being read. And it wasn't written by Bill Ayers.