Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Wanted: new slogan

The US mid-terms look like they’ve been every bit the thumping that was predicted, much to the despair of Curtis Sittenfeld in Slate in a piece entitled I Still Love Obama. Love. Love. Love.  Am I the last person in America who still adores President Obama?
Now, this might seem like the naïve enthusiasm of a political neophyte (or, just conceivably, a monumental parody), but he does actually touch on something important and relevant when wondering why support for Obama has plummeted since 2008.
Honestly, though, I'm surprised that so many people have turned against the president. Obviously, if you've lost your job, life is tough, but did voters really believe the country was going to quickly and dramatically reverse course once he was elected?
Well that’s the thing isn’t it?  I suspect a lot of people did, thanks to campaign rhetoric like this:
I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth. This was the moment - this was the time - when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals.
When you ramp up expectations to that level (and are, into the bargain, a bit creepy and weird) you are just setting yourself up for failure.  Obama-mania was always a bit of a ridiculous phenomenon.  Maybe now that he’s been given such a resounding slap, Obama will concentrate a bit less on lowering sea-levels and healing the sick, and a bit more on the basic fundamentals of good government.  Because although ‘Yes we can’ is a good campaign slogan, in Government you quickly discover that ‘Well, it depends’ is more accurate.

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