"" Running Rabbit: May 2015

Monday, May 18, 2015

About That What IF Question They Are Asking All Those Candidates.

"Knowing what you know now...", Megyn Kelly's question to Jeb Bush has ignited quite the discussion. Jeb has had to amend his answer, other Presidential candidates, (or, possible Presidential candidates), are being asked to posit, and the media is frothing at the mouth over this perceived 'gotcha angle'.

The intelligent witness realizes this is all much ado about nothing.

The question is absurd, so, of course any answer taking it as a serious query is also ridiculous. On inspection it reminds one of the apples and oranges idiom, though, knowing what we know now, we would accurately call it the apples and oysters idiom; call it the mixing the past and the present idiom, but devolve the present into prescient and voila it all makes no sense but man oh man does it put people on the spot. Life does not happen like a Nicholas Cage movie, you can not see what actually happens when you make choices and then reset time back to before so that you can try another choice over and over again until you get an outcome you like. Instead, we take the best information we can get and we act, later we find out if we had the right answers and a successful response; unless we are Hillary Clinton in which case, the truth, our choices, and the history of both can fall into an abyss for all we care because looking back and learning from our past just does not matter, not to us, and by her command, not to those affected by her decisions.

Back to Kelly's question. "Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?" Jeb Bush clearly misunderstood the question, and answered it as if the prescient option she offers him was not part of the equation. But, then, why would a sane person expect to be presented with an impossible opportunity; unless Megyn is hiding a time machine somewhere without telling us, in which case, after she reveals its existence I wish to amend my reaction because knowing at that point about her temporal possibilities there are so many things I would do differently, including criticizing her question. But, until she deigns to grace us with proof of its functionality, and only then if she shares its powers for our, and Jeb's, use, I maintain the question makes no sense, and I hold no wonder that Jeb failed to grasp that he was supposed to pretend he could do something none of us can, yet, do.

If she intended to discern from Jeb whether he was a war hungry individual who would use any pretext to send our best and brightest into harm's way, just for fun, even if he knew the reasons presented to the public would later be proven dubious and that his domestic enemies would successfully maim him image and would position themselves so that they would be forced to make it appear that they are reversing his actions even if it meant they took actions of their own which were demonstrably ineffective and against the best interests of mankind in general, she should have just said so.

Jeb, for his part could have answered the question much more artfully, even his follow up responses, after he knew that he had not heard her completely, are not on mark. But, given how ridiculous the question only the Monty Python comedy troupe could cross the "Gorge of Eternal Peril" which such inquisition threatens, and then only the ones who answer correctly the first time can make it across.

Megyn's question also makes assumptions that we are all dealing with the same set of knowns, "knowing what we know now...?", who is this we of which you speak? And, the fair maiden is flung into the chasm. For, there is no assurance that we know all there was believed known at the time, or, all there is to know now. That is to say, I highly doubt that this collective we knows all that was known at the time, (national security), and can separate what was believed known from what was politically advantageously proffered by domestic enemies.  I doubt too that the we knows all that was learned by going in, and, I especially doubt that the we will acknowledge the parts of the now known that verifies the fears that led to the invasion.

I doubt too that Megyn, and the others now asking her question of other potential candidates are interested in hearing the complex answer it demands. I do not mean to assign an agenda to their method, just that in today's television news/entertainment format there is little room for substantive response and labored thoughtful analysis void of reactionary repositioning by the viewer; everything must happen fast and fit the expected model or the viewer changes channel. We all know that, then and now.

Knowing what I know now, there is no reason to answer as to whether one would have done what has already happened. We picked those apples then, we are harvesting oysters now.

Some of them apples had worms. Some of the oysters will not be safe, flesh and pearls or vibrio vulnificus. To tell the difference between good harvests and bad we need reasoned leaders, not Nostradamus or Nick Cage.

There are better questions for sorting out the candidates. Direct questions about real possibilities. Questions that are worth asking.

Update: Occurs to me that another excellent response to the question would be to ask if, rather than would I have authorized the invasion then, considering the way that Obama has lost Iraq after George W Bush won that war, the more pressing question is will I have to authorize another invasion to clean up the mess Obama created by pulling out too soon.