Wednesday, December 03, 2008

McCain's hopeless campaign

Matt Taibbi provides a good read.
Like millions of Americans, I watched Barack Obama's victory on Election Night in a state of amazement. The only thing that gave me pause was the question of what kind of country this remarkable figure was now inheriting. Some of the luster of Obama's triumph would come off if the American presidency were no longer the Most Powerful Office in the World but simply the top job in a hopelessly broken nation suffering an irreversible decline.

Of all the problems facing this country by the end of the Bush years, the biggest is the absence of a unifying national idea. Since the end of the Cold War, America has been grasping left and right for an identity. We tried being a "world policeman" in Somalia, which didn't work so well. We tried retaining our Cold War outlook by simply replacing communists with terrorists. We created two bubble economies that blew up in our faces, and headed into 2008 a struggling capitalist state with a massive trade deficit and an overtaxed military that suddenly had to ask itself: For the supposed world leader in the community of nations, what exactly is it that we're still good at? Who are we, and what do we represent to the peoples of the Earth here and now — not in 1775 Concord, or 1945 Paris, or 1969, from the surface of the moon?

When Obama took the stage in Grant Park as president-elect, that question was answered. We pulled off an amazing thing here, delivering on our society's most ancient promises, in front of a world that still largely thought of us as the home of Bull Connor's fire hose. This dumbed-down, degraded election process of ours has, in spite of itself and to my own extreme astonishment, brilliantly re-energized the American experiment and restored legitimacy to our status as the world's living symbol of individual freedom. We feel like ourselves again, and the floundering economy and our two stagnating wars now seem like mere logistical problems that will be overcome sooner or later, instead of horrifying symptoms of inevitable empire-decline.

For this to happen, absolutely everything had to break right. And for that we will someday owe sincere thanks to John McCain, and Sarah Palin, and George W. Bush. They not only screwed it up, they screwed it up just right.


cynthia said...

Hi Arun,

As I read this post, these words by Michael Scheuer** come to mind...

"We [meaning Americans] are the good guys, but we don't do much of a job of defending ourselves or avoiding becoming involved in other peoples' wars. We have become lost. We have become unanchored. We drift around thinking that somehow we prove ourselves to be good Americans by what we do overseas rather than making sure our country remains solvent and secure and sensible. It's a sad situation when we have leaders trying to prove our country's worth by things we wanna do overseas rather than things we can do here at home."

I guess you could say that Scheuer holds very libertarian views towards the way our country should conduct itself in the world. So, in this respect, this makes me very libertarian as well.

**Michael Scheuer, by the way, is a former chief of, believe it or not, the CIA's bin Laden unit

changcho said...

Yeah, M. Taibbi is pretty good. I first came across his writings last year when I had a subscription to Rolling Stone magazine.