They Can Run...

| 11 Nov 2014 | 02:09

    “It’s a lie,” said Rick MacArthur, publisher of Harper’s magazine, to a crowd of wonky and/or all-of-a sudden politically motivated grad students at the Melville House bookstore in Dumbo last Tuesday night before the second presidential debate, “When they tell you anyone can be president.”

    “The spirit of celebrating democracy has waned in recent years,” explained MacArthur in a back-and-forth with historian Eric Foner.

    What does he see as the biggest barrier to real change in this country? The two-party system itself.Though money runs a close second.

    He’s not big on Obama, criticizing him in his most recent book as an “establishment man” who could never have gotten where he is without the help of the Chicago Daly Machine, Illinois corporations, Hollywood and Wall Street donors. As MacArthur sees it, it’s better to be beholden to a few millionaires than all of them. “Obama’s done a great job de-blackifying himself,” said MacArthur. “I don’t even really think of him as a black candidate anymore.”

    His idea of the perfect candidate? We asked him afterward while guzzling cans of Tecate. “Eugene McCarthy.” Did he get clean for Gene? Well, he was just a little kid, so he wasn’t shaving yet. He liked Howard Dean four years ago, but recognized that the party leadership would never let it happen, that they saw him as a threat, what with all his wacky individual donors on the Internet.

    “I think Obama’s got this one in the bag, though,” he said. “McCain’s just so doddering.”