Wake up. Read Krugman. He’s right, of course. The baby Conservative sharing the page with him even agrees, and writes a column which seems to have it about right, too. Small world.
Looking for comfort, but see a blog entry about Gallup polling. Exactly what we feared if the first hundred days were not the rock ’em, sock ’em stuff we needed.
While people kept saying that we ought not to take the 2008 election for granted, some of us did, but with a different warning:
Yes, I am of the “first hundred days” school. There is no question that the 100 days after March 4, 1933 changed our country, the electorate and the very way we think about the federal government in ways that still apply today. (I intend to read Alter’s book during the shorter interim between election and inauguration that we have today, but this lecture is worth listening to for those who want a shorter version of the argument. And, yes, though revisionist history refuses to acknowledge it, the first 100 days of President Kennedy and of President Johnson, while not as revolutionary, perhaps, made marks on our country that resonate today as well.
So, yes, thanks, oddly to George W Bush, our time has come. He has made his mark on our country and we owe some thanks to him for showing why more competence and less ideology is necessary in the presidency. But he will not be on any more ballots and will soon become forgotten (though Hoover managed to be a useful word to campaign on as late as 1964).
The point is not to replicate the Roosevelt hundred days. That is ridiculous. The point is to change the country in a way that will command the support of a large majority of the public before the general cynicism about government takes root. It does not mean sending Dick Cheney to prison, though that may be where he belongs. There are more important things at stake.
The other day, I heard someone say that it is not the socialism that Sen Obama is accused of proposing that should concern Americans. It is the “national socialism” that we hear from Governor Plain’s campaign and many of her acolytes that should concern us: the branding of some Americans as not “real Americans” and the cause of all of our problems.
Because, my friends (as Governor Roosevelt said well before Sen McCain did), “our problems” are just beginning and they may well be deep, systemic problems ameliorated, if at all, by aspects of the New Deal which still operate to protect against the worst of what we experienced from 1929 until World War II. And, World War II, lest we forget, was the natural outgrowth of what the national socialists (the Nazis in shorthand) achieved by explaining that the economic troubles facing Germans was not their fault, but that of “outsiders” even some who had been born in their country and lived among them for centuries but yet were not “Germans.”
In short, bad times almost always bring out the worst in humanity.
We are headed into times which call for a Roosevelt. I hope we have found him, but only time will tell, as the bloviators used to say and should again.
Celebrate indeed on November 4, but do not fool yourself in thinking our liberation is going to come that easy. Many dark days are ahead and we will need the leadership of the best among us to get us through this.
So, today, reading the blog post about how Americans self identify themselves two plus years into this presidency all that can be said is this:
We had a chance .and it was in those first hundred days, as hackneyed as that seems. That was the time to show that government can work, at a time when we were giddy about our new president and the departure of the old one.
The sixty vote people killed it, including the faux Democrats such as Ben Nelson, and the lack of fight for a large enough stimulus to change the culture as well as the economy doomed us.
Despite it all, the President was able to have a decent first two years, and to accomplish things that needed to be done, and he should be congratulated for his successeseven while we bemoan the abject failure to do what needed to be done. It may not have been his fault, but though he told us he was reading all of those FDR books, he did not learn much from them.
The 100 days are important because once their over, and the usual political divisions re-emerge, the wave a new president can ride goes away and never returns. The failure to achieve something lasting, cost him, and us, in 2010, and the results of that are what we see today. Yes, elections do have consequences.
He can be re-elected, of course, which appears to be the only thing he is devoted to accomplishing henceforth, and his election will prevent even a greater slide than the one we are on now. To think this President, with all his intellect, cannot take us further and can look forward to, at best, stemming the tide for the next six years or so, is deeply saddening.
and, then, because nothing cheers one up better than a dose of West Wing dreaming, there is this, with the great Tori Amos covering the Boomtown Rats song “I don’t like Mondays”.