As everyone will remind us, in politics, even a day can be a lifetime. With a little more than eight months to go before the elections, so much can change. But right now, this minute, today, are you optimistic or pessimistic when you think about November 2012.
I have to confess to being pessimistic this week. I think Obama is playing Republicans magnificently, and he’s being helped by the fact that the Republican candidates are self-destructing with tremendous rapidity. I know that, once the party coalesces behind the not-Obama candidate, things will calm down as the focus moves from us to them, but the damage now may be irremediable. Obama and his media allies are also doing a magnificent job of turning the Republican v. Democrat divide into a single issue: contraception. Listening to Rush today, I learned that the Democrats are now telling people that the administration’s attack on religious freedom is really about the fact that Republicans want to make birth control illegal. You and I know this is a farce. Those who watch the Grammys and Jon Stewart do not.
Ignorance is so pervasive. I recorded the musical 1776, which recently appeared on TCM. The movie, which was made in 1972, is based upon the Broadway play that premiered in 1969. In other words, it is a product of the Vietnam era.
In many ways, it’s quite a charming movie, which is what I remember from having seen it about twenty years ago. A lot of it is historically accurate, which is enjoyable. Some of the songs are delightful romps. The actors do a good job.
What I hadn’t remembered, and didn’t realize, was that, despite celebrating America’s creation, the musical is both anti-War and anti-Left. The anti-Left reveals itself in the song Cool, cool, considerate men, which sees the bad slave holding states insisting that the Congress go to the “right,” never to the “left”:
Mr. Bookworm paused the song midway through to point out excitedly to my Little Bookworm that even in 1776, the right was the bad side politically. Fortunately, I was there to explain that the terms “left” and “right” didn’t exist at the time, having emerged only during the French Revolution. I also explained that these were not the First Congress’ words but, in fact, were written during the height of the Vietnam War for an anti-War audience. Later, I explained to Little Bookworm that the more accurate terms are statist versus individualist, rather than geographic descriptions of the seating in the French Parliament. I think she got it.
But think about it: Mr. Bookworm is the product of one of the best high schools in the country, two of the oldest, most esteemed universities in the country, and some other fine educational institutions as well. Despite that, he thinks that 1776, the Musical accurately expresses modern political positions and that Jon Stewart is a political prophet.
And that’s why I’m pessimistic. If he’s representative of the informed, educated American, we individualists are in deep doo-doo.
What say you?
(Pardon typos. I’ve got to run, so please decipher this as best you can if it periodically stops making sense.)
UPDATE: Keith Koffler thinks hubris will get Obama.