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Obama and the Worst Impulses in Politics

“You know, it’s fashionable right now for people to be cynical,” President Obama said during a campaign speech the other day.

We go in cycles like this and right now a lot of people are saying “Oh, America is doing terribly” and “What are we going to do?” Let me tell you something. There is no problem out there, no challenge we face that we do not have the capacity to solve. We are Americans and we are tougher than whatever tough times bring us. What is lacking right now is our politics, what’s lacking right now is that some of the worst impulses in our politics have been rewarded.

The president is on to something. There is something lacking in our politics right now. We have, for example, too many people in high public office who promised hope and change and gave us slash and burn. Who mock and demonize their opposition. Who disfigure the truth in order to win reelection. Who are constantly promoting divisions and creating distractions. And who practice a level of lawlessness in their governing approach.

These cynics were rewarded in 2008. My guess is they’ll be held accountable in 2012. If they are, some of the worst impulses in our politics will be punished, and that would be all to the good.



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