tapes and seminars. As Doe Lang toldnus in The Charisma Book: What It Isnand How to Get It, charisma is actuallyn”within us all” — cabdriver, electrician,nand Chronicles reader alike.nAll we need to do is to buy this book.nThe person chiefly responsible fornassociating “charisma” with politics isnMax Weber. Weber analyzed threentypes of political authority, one ofnwhich was the “charismatic.” Weberndescribed a charismatic leader as onenwho feels destined to carry out a missionnbecause of the exceptional talentsnor powers he supposedly possesses.nThe charismatic leader requires wholeheartedndevotion from his followers,nand the foundation of his authority’ isnemotional rather than rational: it restsnon trust, often blind and fanatical, andnfaith, often unrestrained and uncritical.nBound by neither institutions nor rules,ncustoms nor precedents, the charismaticnleader has unlimited power.nIn other words, charismatic rule isnthe antithesis of our “government ofnlaws and not of men.” It is, by definition,nanathema to the idea of constitutionalndemocracy, political representation,nand a system of checks andnbalances. Only a complete historicalnamnesia could therefore account fornthe extraordinary metamorphosis thisnword has undergone: no longer representativenof the type of political authoritynthat characterized the Old Worldnand distinguished it from the New —nthe arrogant, dishonest, and pretentiousnform of charismatic rule known asnthe divine right of kings — charisma isnnow the pinnacle of political virtues wenlook for to praise in leaders both atnhome and abroad. And even if a politicalnleader has none of the qualities ornattributes currently considered “charismatic”—nthe sexy smile, the endearingngrin, the ability to move an audiencenwith a speech of rhythmic andnalliterative platitudes — he or she isnoften adorned with the label nonetheless.nFor charisma has become thenlaurel we want and expect our leadersnto wear.nThe power that the word “charisma”nnow wields over our politicalnprocess is astounding. Indeed, as TheodorenWhite would have put it, anpresidential candidate can no longer bensold without it. Charisma is the reasonnmost often cited for Gary Hart’s risenand Michael Dukakis’s fall; the formern10/CHRONICLESnhad it, the latter did not. Many politicalnpundits had written off George Bush inn1988 because he lacked the “charismanfactor,” that is, until the Democratsnperformed the impossible by comingnup with someone even more nondescriptnthan Bush. And what is thenreason most often given for why GovernornMario Cuomo, Senators BobnKerrey and Bill Bradley, and Lee lacoccanshould run for the presidency?nYou guessed it.nThe public has forgotten that charismanhas never been an indicator ofncompetence or a guarantee of politicalnprobity. In fact, modern history givesnus no reason to think that a charismaticnleader will be anything other than ancharlatan, a sham, a demagogue, or andictator. No one can deny that Hitlernand Mussolini, or Jim Jones andnCharles Manson, gained power on thenbasis of their charismatic appeal. GarynHart’s “charisma” didn’t prevent himnfrom taking his supporters for grantednand sleeping with Donna Rice. JacknKennedy will forever be rememberednfor his sex appeal, his womanizing, andnfor being assassinated, and not for anynsuccess as either policymaker or statesman.nRonald Reagan’s charm in frontnof the cameras didn’t help him to lowernthe deficit, to abolish the Departmentnof Education, or to reduce the size ofnthe federal government. And Gorbachev’sn”impromptu” jaunts throughnthrongs of Washingtonians and WestnGermans may endear him to the massesnand media folk alike, but they donnothing to shorten the lines of Russiansnwho cue up daily for meat, bread, eggs,nand potatoes.nThoreau once said that he wouldnrun for cover if ever he saw a mannapproach his house with the consciousndesign of doing him good. Consideringnthe current lust for charisma, there’s nonreason to think that we’d be smartnenough to run.n— Theodore PappasnTHE FISCAL 1991 budget proposednby President Bush totaled somen$1.2 trillion. This prodigious amount,nlarger than the entire Gross NationalnProduct of twenty years ago, is consideredna “tight budget” in Washington.nPoliticians complain that they cannotnfind enough money to finance programs,nwhile the hunt has been on tonnnfind programs to cut to keep the totalndown. The situation is so bad thatnWashington has invited Japan intonsuch vital geopolitical arenas as Panamanand Poland to provide the financialnsupport the U.S. can no longer afford—na strategic development thatnmay come to rank with Britain’s abdicationnin favor of the U.S.nThe budget has also been in deficitnfor a quarter century, and the nationalndebt has doubled since 1984. Thisndespite the fact that the federal governmentncollected $330 billion more inntaxes in 1989 than in 1984. Thoughnthere has been widespread concernnabout these continuing deficits, someneconomists have dismissed them. PaulnCraig Roberts, for example, claims thatnduring the 1980’s “statistics show thatnthe United States enjoyed one of thensmallest deficits and slowest growth ofnpublic debt as a share of GNP in thenworld.” There are problems with Roberts’nargument, not the least of which isnhe may not have looked inside hisnaggregate figures. He asks, “If weakerncountries can continue to carry onnsuccessfully with proportionately higherndeficits, why do our smaller deficitsndoom us?” But his examples, Canada,nItaly, and the Netheriands, are notnGreat Powers vying for global preeminence.nNevertheless, Roberts makes a validnpoint in the abstract. Taking on debt isnnot always bad. It depends on the usento which the money is put. If it contributesnto the expansion of the economynor of the nation’s influence in worldnaffairs, then it can be seen as anninvestment. Japan has a higher debt/nGNP ratio than the U.S., most of itnundertaken in the last fifteen years.nJapanese debt has served to supportnrapid growth and to mobilize the nation’snlarge pool of savings. In contrast,nthe U.S. has squandered its publicnfunds like a Third World debtor regime.nUntil the Vietnam War ended, thennational debt could be justified as havingnbeen necessary to meet the nation’snneeds during wartime. However,nthe debt has tripled in the last fifteennyears, during which there have been nonwars. Measures of emergency war financenhave now become standardnpeacetime operating procedures. Thisnsuggests the question of what the governmentnwould do if faced with ann