AUTHENTICITY IS STUPID. It's worth adding a more general point to Greg's post on today's awesome David Broder-Joe Klein twofer: Authenticity is a pointless thing to care about in politics. Obsessing over the personal motivations and supposed core beings of individual political actors is, in fact, close to the opposite of what politics is actually all about. Institutional arrangements and historical contingencies largely determine political (and thus policy) outcomes, and outcomes are what matter.

Besides, the track record for consistency and "authenticity" of some of our great political leaders -- both on the level of this goofy kind of gut-check personality assessment and on the level of actual policy positions -- is awfully dubious. Franklin D. Roosevelt was dismissed as an unremarkable lightweight when he first ran for President (Walter Lippmann famously described him as "a pleasant man who, without any important qualifications for the office, would very much like to be President"), largely because he was a fairly unremarkable lightweight in his early political career. And of course he ran his 1932 campaign railing against the deficit-spending Hoover administration and calling for "sound currency" and "immediate and drastic reductions of all public expenditures." Authenticity just doesn't have anything to do with anything.

--Sam Rosenfeld