The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
    David Seaton's picture

    Americans, the little boy and the pony

    A lot of people are saying the sort of thing I'm saying, but saying it better: Peggy Noonan, of all people, for instance.
    People wonder if he is decisive. It is clear he is decisive in terms of his own career: He decides to go for president of the law review, to move to Chicago, to roll the dice for a U.S. Senate seat, to hire David Axelrod, to take on Hillary, to campaign with discipline and even elegance. When it comes to his career, his decisions are thought through and his judgments sound. But when it comes to decisions that have to do with larger issues, with great questions and not with him, things get murkier. There is the long trail of the missed and "present" votes, the hesitance on big questions. One wonders if in the presidency he'll be like the dog that chased the car and caught it: What's he supposed to do now?
    Or Caroline Baum, over at Bloomberg:
    I feel sorry for whoever wins the presidential election on Nov. 4. He faces a colossal mess. The housing bubble is still deflating, with no end in sight. The unemployment rate is rising, making consumer loans of all descriptions -- mortgage, auto, credit card -- vulnerable to rising delinquencies. (...) Neither candidate has offered much of a vision for addressing the credit crunch sinking an economy that was already taking on water. (...) For the next 11 days, the two candidates will regale us with their vision for the future. They will promise, if elected, to work hard each and every day for the American people. They will inspire us with their rhetoric and scare us with distortions about the other guy. Whether they know it or not, they won't be fulfilling many of those promises come Jan. 20. The next president of the U.S. will be handcuffed by events and constrained by deficits. He'll be playing defense. And he won't have a deep bench to work with. The only bright spot is the prospect of escape in four years if things get worse before they get better.
    Americans are the dreamers of the "Dream", the world's first and foremost positive thinkers, "there is no life, truth, nor being in error" type of folks... Folks who have to remind themselves that "denial is not a river in Egypt". Filled to the gills with positive pills.

    Bereft of the tragic sense of life, but horrified and offended as no others by the inevitability of age and death, they are optimists in order not to be totally bleak, bereft and abandoned pessimists.

    Americans are optimistic like the little boy in the psychiatrist's joke:

    A little boy goes into a room full of horse manure and begins to dig frantically with his bare hands: tossing the shit behind him with ferocious abandon. When asked why, he replies; "There has to be a pony in here somewhere!".
    After history's most incredible run of luck, a tri-centenarian stream of blessings that no other people in the world have ever experienced, the USA is finally moving into a real bald patch and Americans, unlike more fatalistic peoples, don't know how to just hunker down and sweat it out... Yet.

    They still have to believe that a magic savior will come.

    Here we are...

    Come and get us.

    Believing makes it so...

    You betcha.

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