Monday, February 18, 2008

Reason For Optimism

I don't know about everybody else, but I've been feeling pretty good about politics for the last week or so. The main reason for my sudden optimism is this: we're virtually guaranteed a fairly reasonable president come January 20th 2009. Now, I know that HRC has been extremely annoying, and McCain is sub-optimal. Huckabee is still officially in the race, of course, but I'm counting him out for all intents and purposes. So we've got one genuinely exciting candidate, one candidate who would probably be just fine, and that rarest of rarities these days, a reasonable Republican candidate. After seven years of the godawful, damnable Bush administration, I think we all deserve to revel in a big sigh of relief.

I am inclined to think that the next president needs to accomplish some big, rather amorphous things in addition to whatever specific policy goals they choose to pursue. Among these, in no particular order, are:

1. Restore honor to the White House
2. Renew relationships with our allies
3. Convince the world that the U.S. is not insane
4. Repudiate the current administration's response to 9/11

Seven years of the contemptible George W. Bush have left us weaker and lower than anyone could have predicted. It may be too early to declare him the worst president in history--and I think that such judgments are always skewed toward the recent--but the very fact that he'll definitely be in the running is problem enough. The lesson of the last seven years that it does, as a matter of fact, matter who you elect to the presidency. A moron that middle America would like to have a beer with is still a moron. And a liar who waves the flag is still a liar. The next president will have to turn the nation around, and that won't be easy. Ideally, he or she will go to our allies and apologize profusely for the last seven years, and assure them that such idiocy will not recur. He'll make efforts to convince the rest of the world that the grown-ups are back in charge, and that the days of wildly irrational decision-making are over. And he will go in front of the American people and explain that almost every response to 9/11 has been a mistake. That there is no "war" on "terror," but, rather, an on-going effort to keep ourselves and our allies safe from various threats, only one of which is terrorism, and only part of that which is Islamic. That Iraq was a terrible mistake, but that, now that it's been made, we've got to leave in a responsible and honorable way. And that, contrary to what Mr. Bush has said, al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden will pay for 9/11. Bush apparently thought that 9/11 was trivial enough that its mastermind could be allowed to slip away while we pursued unrelated projects; the next president should make it clear that that was an enormous, almost inexplicable error.

Though this country has rarely fallen so low in modern times, and although we've in my lifetime shown ourselves to have a penchant for electing idiots, I really do think that things are now destined to improve. It seems to me that Obama is the most likely to do the things that are required, HRC the next most likely, and McCain the third. (His non-rational commitment to the disastrous policies of his party will, unfortunately, prevent him from being a truly great president. But, though he might not be great, he would at least be able to accomplish 1-3, even if not 4.

So: relax a little. It looks like things are destined to look up.


Blogger lovable liberal said...

I wish I could concur that John McCain would represent a repudiation of Bushist policies. The problem is that in the area that makes us look the most insane to our natural allies around the world - foreign policy - McCain has made clear that he will continue Duhbya's approach essentially forever. Furthermore, the Republican apparatus would still have great influence in the White House, and it is shot through with lawlessness.

6:46 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Yeah, I agree. That's a worry. I can't believe he'll be as irrational and arrogant as Bush...but what's needed is a complete repudiation, not marginal improvement.

9:33 AM  

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