After 9/11, we realized that all these silly culture wars, and arguing about rock lyrics... who cares? You know, we, for some reason, remembered what our real problems are.
One of the most persistent cultural tics of the early 21st century is Americans' reluctance to absorb, let alone prepare for, bad news.
It is kind of tedious after a while, to parse politicians doing the same thing over and over again. The facts change from week to week, but the sort of masquerade doesn't.
While F.D.R. once told Americans that we have nothing to fear but fear itself, Mr. Ashcroft is delighted to play the part of Fear Itself, an assignment in which he lets his imagination run riot.
No one is better placed or more philosophically suited than Obama to construct the new counter narrative as we go forward in our new New Deal. But many masters of the old universe, including quite possibly his chief economic adviser, can't recognize that the world has changed or should change.