An Election Half Empty
“We’re in decline,” he said. Boom. Just like that. Meaning America. And suggesting that other D words — dip, downturn, even depression — didn’t sufficiently reflect reality, perhaps because they connote temporary fluctuations instead of an inexorable arc.
Bush, the former governor of Florida, was speaking on Monday morning to journalists at a Bloomberg View breakfast in Manhattan, and he was displaying the kind of candor you seldom get from someone still in, or angling for, elective office.
He almost certainly doesn’t harbor any secret desire to be the Republicans’ vice-presidential nominee. If he did, he wouldn’t have slammed the no-compromises orthodoxies of his own party. (He added that Democrats are comparably rigid.) He wouldn’t have spoken up for the occasional wisdom of tax increases or for an approach to immigration more progressive than the one Mitt Romney has proposed.
And he wouldn’t have rendered such an unequivocal verdict on the country’s situation.
“We’re in very difficult times right now, very different times than we’ve been,” he told us, sounding at first like any other politician, then segueing to a darker place. “We’re in decline.” He added that “that distinguishes us — where we are” from past moments in history.
I can’t imagine Romney or President Obama uttering a statement so unforgiving. But I do get the sense that they, along with much of the electorate, feel at least somewhat the same way.
And I think that Bush opened a window into the most striking aspect of the 2012 presidential election: the degree to which pessimism has supplanted optimism in a country usually inclined toward the latter and predisposed toward politicians fluent in the language of uplift.
Where’s the uplift this time around?
Romney’s not deft at it, and is largely content to frame
You can read the rest of this article at:: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/12/opinion/bruni-an-election-half-empty.html
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