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The King Is Dead; Long Live the King!


One dilemma for Obama is that his campaign was especially apocalyptic about America: Bush ruined everything. But not long after his tenure begins, he ’s going to have to suddenly assure Americans that things really aren’t all that bad: there really is progress and quiet in Iraq; until we get universal health care, there are really many ways we are currently providing it; Gitmo has a lot of complexities that mean its instant shut-down is difficult; the problem in Afghanistan is not necessarily that we took our eye off it and so can’t be remedied with simple infusions of troops, FISA and the Patriot Act had some utility; public campaign financing has some merit; we may have to hold off on the civilian security force as large as the Pentagon; coal and nuclear power, and drilling have some temporary advantages; our former lobbyists we appoint can’t be demonized simply because they were once lobbyists; greenhouse gas emissions may be curbed after the recession, not during it; anti-Americanism abroad has deep roots and involves envy and resentment at least at some level.

It all reminds me of the farmers’ market shopper in the 1980s who used to berate me at our stall for all the horrible things we farmers did–until one day she lamented that she and her husband had recently bought a small patch of ground of their own, and suddenly the government, the regulations, insurance, taxes, labor, even the weather were all out to get her.


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