Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Think Like a Canadian

Signature of Jimmy Carter.Image via Wikipedia

I'm trying to do that this morning.

Obama has in no way frustrated my expectations. I took him at his word during the late presidential campaign -- moderate, cautious, a treat for the eyes, brilliantly wordy. I thought his talk about bipartisanship was weak, and so it has turned out to be. But my hopes for him were high because at bottom I'm as irrational as the other guy. (Though I have it under better control. Most mornings my socks match.)

As it turns out Obama may really be the white Jimmy Carter -- smart, well-intentioned, unwilling to close the deal if it interferes with his sense of proper conduct, a happy failture. I really liked Jimmy Carter and still defend him as being a better president than most give him credit for being. And so it may end with Obama, a fine and decent man willing to lose on his own terms and whom I will defend with a whole litany of Yes But.

Ah well. In the long term we're all dead, and it would now appear in the short term we are all fucked.

Back to being a Canadian. The collapse of America's sense of its exceptionalism -- and more to the point our actual collapse, first a totter and then a crunch -- makes a fine spectacle as seen from Olympus, perhaps slightly less fine from Ottawa because of proximity but still rich in schadenfreude.

As seen from Oakland, of course, it's no fun at all. Fucked, as I said cutting to the chase.


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