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It takes a bipartisan village


I try not to be as glum as Derb about these things but the contrast between Silent Cal’s remarks 82 years ago and the lines Jonah’s reader objects to tonight is very telling. Nothing to do with immigration but just tonally: Coolidge sounds like he’s addressing a nation of grown-ups; the President’s guff – “our job is to make life better… future of hope and opportunity” – is a big wobbly blancmange of condescending paternalism that would have struck most of his 42 predecessors as revoltingly un-American. Not the 42nd President, of course. As Mr Clinton never ceased to tell us, there wasn’t a day when he didn’t wake up and try to make life better for the American people. America is founded on the principle that people can make their own lives better. It’s very worrisome when the Daddy party succumbs to the Mommy party’s default mode of infantilizing the citizenry.


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