Sand in the Gears

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Maybe we get what we deserve

February 10th, 2009 Posted in Curmudgeonry

I can’t abide people who are already salivating at the prospect of Obama’s failure, who are convinced that he is a godless Marxist with a secret plan to steal our guns, open our borders, and make us all work like slaves on wind-energy farms while turning our daughters into lesbians with kindergarten sex-education seminars. The reality is that we need him to exercise good judgment and rein in the lunatic fringe of his own party, just as we need Republicans with some backbone to quietly take Rush Limbaugh by the arm and remind him that he is nothing more than a dancing bear, that if he expects any more of them to come kissing his rear end after they hurt his precious feelings then he is sadly mistaken, and that the best thing for everyone would be for him to have another diet shake and shut his piehole.

If Obama fails because he is captured by the know-nothing Pelosi wing of his party, in other words, we all lose, and big. Racial polarization, continued drift toward a massive fiscal disaster as the overly entitled, under-saving Baby Boomers accelerate their descent from mediocrity into dependence, and a likely return to the feckless, ill-directed foreign policy that characterized the Clinton photo-op years. We need this president to succeed.

This is why his speech last night was so disappointing to me. He uses words a little too precisely, reminiscent of Al Gore’s “no controlling legal authority” tightrope walk before a phalanx of attorneys. He creates a false dichotomy, between the reasonable people who agree with him about fulfilling a social spending wishlist and calling it economic stimulus, and the extremists who want to do nothing. Judging by his facial expressions, he gets irritated at the slightest challenge to his assertions. I’ve heard a lot of big talk about “how we do it in Chicago,” but I’m wondering if politicians in Chicago are used to being criticized, because that seems to be a new experience for this man. Which is inexplicable, because no matter how obsequious his hangers-on, he does have a wife. Surely I didn’t get the only one who disagrees from time to time.

So between the paranoid rhetoric of the talking-head right, and the defensive disingenuousness on display last night, I’m feeling awfully queasy about the future. I guess I always assumed that when things got really bad, maturity would trump the self-seeking behaviors and refusal to accept trade-offs characteristic of ill-trained children. But maybe all the adults have left Washington.