Jewish World Review Oct. 7, 2013/ 3 Mar-Cheshvan, 5774
That was then ... when politics required thought
By Paul Greenberg
It was so long ago that a new young senator from
It was so long ago that the usual naifs thought the little potboiler of a book he wrote, a thinly disguised campaign biography covered in political clichés, was an eloquent appeal to principle. It was so long ago that its title, "The Audacity of Hope," hadn't yet made audacity and hope sound ironic in his mouth.
This was how long ago it was:
That's right: It was so long ago that
It was so long ago that a younger and still appealing
But that was before the well-trained cadre that is the
It was so long ago that a young Sen. Obama's "informed electorate" would never have let an older President Obama get away with summoning the leaders of the opposition to the
It was so long ago that the country might have expected that the president who had written those idealistic words about the need for genuine bipartisanship would govern in the moderate mode of an Eisenhower, or like that of the two Bushes, or even adopt the now paradigmatic example of
But that was all so long ago. Now that once-convivial political air has been replaced by a great cloud of nothing but talking points churned out by both sides and swarming like gnats on a late summer's eve over our nation's miasmal capital, blocking out any sight of the setting sun.
Now the innocents all around, those multitudes of wanna-be insiders, a low ambition indeed for citizens of a republic, solemnly repeat their side's talking points as if they meant something. Something besides "I'm just another groupthinker parroting the party line." Which party and which line scarcely matters if there is no exacting press or informed electorate to check our political reflexes in a political climate dominated for the dim moment by what Orwell called "the smelly little orthodoxies that are contending for our souls."
Meanwhile, the American people -- oh, yes, them -- still deserve a government that actually governs.
But this, too, will soon be long ago. And this impasse, too, will be gone, like any other passing plague of insects. Never give up on this country. It may have been
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