Daniel Henninger on “The Great Guy Theory of History:”
We consider today the sad case of Charlie Rangel, the beloved 20-term Congressman from New York City.
You’ve probably heard of the Great Man Theory of History. The Charlie Rangel story can be explained by the Great Guy Theory of History.
Men have a shorthand way of sorting through the torrents of human behavior. They’ll say someone is a “great guy.”
Like in: “Have you ever met Charlie? Great guy.”
That’s it. Two words. “Great guy.” You’re in the club. Vouched for. Cleared for take off.
Politics seems to attract great guys, and there’s been no greater guy than Charlie Rangel. Until recently, you could have filled Madison Square Garden with famous and connected people who’d vouch for Charlie Rangel.
One reason long-serving politicians pile up great-guy points wherever they go is so no one will ever think of throwing them over. But now it looks as if Charlie Rangel is going over the side, and this is causing anguish among his many friends.
Someone once said that there are no genuine friends in politics. Deep and complex relationships maybe, but friendship? Don’t go looking for it.
Sounding like a don in “The Godfather,” President Obama told CBS last week: “He is somebody who is at the end of his career, 80 years old. I’m sure that what he wants is to be able to end his career with dignity, and my hope is that happens.”
Obama as Don Corleone? I really can’t see it myself.