George W. Bush 'ran the country like a cable network,' and other political insights from Chris Rock
The latest issue of Rolling Stone features an interview with the comedian and actor/director Chris Rock. And when the talk veered to politics, Rock had some pretty smart and subtle insights about the way American politics work.
1. There's a real distinction between knowing about current events and knowing about current events.
"I always had, like, a dumb-guy's view of current events. Always kind of know a little bit of what's going on. If I knew any more about current events, I probably wouldn't talk about it. Do I really want to talk about Tim Geithner? No, I'd shoot myself in the head. I had to stop going on the Bill Maher show. Too smart. I'm on, like, the barbershop level. That motherf--ker really talking about politics."
2. Americans often evaluate politicians based on how well they move on from their predecessors' shortcomings.
"I think [Obama has] done well — but it's like, I don't know who Tina Turner's second husband was, but he was better than Ike. Right? Maybe he had faults, maybe he lost his job or whatever, but he was better than Ike."
3. George W. Bush was a revolutionary. His campaign found a way to create a political majority and he governed the country in keeping with the way we see ourselves now: part of political tribes, with different wants, needs, and values. That's not Obama.
"As bad as George W. Bush was, he revolutionized the presidency. He was the first president who only served the people that voted for him. He ran the country like a cable network; he only catered to his subscribers. Obama's main fault is not realizing that's kind of what people want. That whole trying-to-make-everybody-happy thing is done. People who voted for him want him to do what Bush did. And whoever's the next president will do what Bush did."
4. Race relations are much better now, but racism will never be scraped away from the institutions of our democracy.
"We're never going to see the end of racism per se. But Obama is like the polio vaccine of racism — people still get polio and die, but there is a vaccine. They don't have to get it. And my kids, you know, it's been 12 years now and there hasn't been one racial incident in my mostly white neighborhood — not even a tiny one."
5. Don't count out another President Obama
"Michelle Obama could be the next president if she wanted to be. You ever seen her speak? She could be married to her husband and denounce him at the same time — she's that good: 'My husband was good, but we're going to do things a little differently this time.'"
Read the whole interview at Rolling Stone.