“Everywhere, but only in spirit”


People ask, where’s Hamilton nowadays, and I say, everywhere, but only in spirit.  There is nobody on the current political scene who thinks anywhere near as expansively as Hamilton, and with such confidence.  Part of this is, it’s no longer a Hamiltonian age.  That went out with the visionary sixties, which ended with the stagflation years of Jimmy Carter that in turn ushered in the Reaganite no-government era we’re still in.  So, Hamilton would never be elected today; he’d be laughed out of town.  (Of course, he wasn’t elected to anything above Assemblyman then.)  But there are plenty of Burrs, if defined as opportunistic demagogues, who will say anything to excite the electorate regardless of reality.  Burr was good at that.  He was the first politician to take his message directly to the people, and not campaign through intermediaries.  But he was all about the campaign, never about the job of governing.  It is telling that, of the three leaders of the Republican side today, none has held an elected position in any level of government.  Three Burrs, no Hamiltons.       


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