Posted by: CJ | January 23, 2009

I’ll miss you W.!

There are many, many reasons to be glad W. is vacating the White House. Amongst them is any combination of a genuine love of both the US (or at least your community) and good policy. But I’m going to miss W., because in many important ways he never let me down.

You see, under another president my rampant pessimism and cynicism might be unfounded, or at least not a valuable commodity that always made me right. But W. was always there for me. I knew from the very beginning of his presidency not to trust anything he said, to assume all policies he proposes are not only bad policy but dirty lies as well. And that, generally speaking, his policies weren’t even just bad in the sense that they screwed over constituencies he didn’t like but also in the sense that they weren’t even good for the constituencies he did like. I’m going to miss that sort of steadfast leadership.

That certainty and moral clarity is now being replaced with the uncertainty a president constitutionally capable of nuances and deep thought brings. Obama will likely have proposals he and his people have thought hard about, proposals which will require careful and delicate analysis. More to the point, it will require hard work to unravel what’s going on and what should and shouldn’t be supported, and that’s frustrating because I just don’t have that sort of time anymore. Reading about Bush was always fun because he was screwing things up in such a cartoon-ish way, but fixing them like a thinking grownup sounds suspiciously like it will involve exertion. As an academic I’m mildly morally opposed to anything involving my exertion, so this may be an unpleasant 4 to 8 years.

(Not to mention that pessimism and despair is no longer as in vogue amongst the educated elite, so I maybe have to start pretending to be happy and capable of extended bouts of hope. I guess all that acting in high school may be good for something after all.)

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