The economy is showing signs of revival and the electorate is showing signs of . . . reconsideration.
Sure people are angry and frustrated. There’s a lot to be angry about. How could the last administration have gotten us into such a mess?! How can a single Senator hold up the entire government, and one party filibuster even its own proposals (like the bi-partisan budget deficit commission) once the President comes on board? How can they hold tax cuts for “the bottom 98%” hostage to tax cuts for the best off? Why did we go into Iraq before we had to, and without a plan to succeed? Because “Curveball” told us to???
But anger alone is not enough – and misdirecting it at the current administration is like throwing bottles at the fire department when it arrives to fight the fire someone else set.
Here is conservative columnist Andrew Sullivan last week decrying that cynicism and nihilism, as he calls it. “I have no love for the Democrats,” he says, but . . .
Obama’s speech to Gen44 tonight knocked my socks off. It’s streaming on CSPAN here. If you’ve forgotten why many of you worked your ass off for this guy, and felt hope for the first time in many years, watch it. He deserves criticism when necessary as this blogazine has not shied from at times. But he remains in my judgment the best option this country still has left – and it’s far too easy for the left and far too dangerous for serious conservatives and independents to abandon him now.
What I particularly loved about the speech was his direct attack on the fiscal irresponsibility of the Pledge To America, the $700 billion it means we will have to borrow from China to sustain the unsustainable Bush tax cuts for those earning over $250,000 a year. And what I agreed with was his embrace of government that is lean and efficient, because these are times when the government is necessary to help reverse self-evident decline, mounting fiscal crisis, deeply dangerous enemies, and socially dangerous inequality, exploited at home by ugly demagogues and know-nothing nihilists. Here is his invocation of Lincoln’s core argument about the role of government:
“I believe the government should do for the people what they cannot do better for themselves.”
Then this passage where he soared like he hasn’t since the campaign:
“I believe in a country that rewards hard work and responsibility, a country where we look after one other, a country that says I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper, I’m going to give a hand up, join hands with folks and try to lift all of us up so we all have a better future, not just some – but all of us. That’s what I believe.”
I do too. I do not believe for a second that the GOP of Palin and Boehner and Beck and DeMint represents anything but more debt, more war, more social division and more denial about the deeply serious problems this country faces and the profound dangers that are metastasizing in the world. I have no love for the Democrats but I do fervently believe that this president’s record is far better than many now fashionably claim, that his inheritance was beyond awful, and I am not giving up on this president’s immense task now, and neither, in my judgment, should any of those who voted for him in 2008.
Know hope; and fight the cynicism and nihilism that is increasingly the alternative.
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Triumphant wife to down-and-out husband: I've consolidated all our bills into one missed payment.~Frank Cotham cartoon in the October 11, 1999, New Yorker
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