I try to not give in to it, if for no other reason that in my line of work a rosy view of the world is a prerequisite for sanity.  Today of course, doing that is difficult.

Up here in the Flathead Valley the electorate is pretty conservative.  Whitefish (the Aspen of Montana, and home of our current Democratic governor) sometimes elects a Democrat, and HD 5 (downtown Kalispell, where we live) historically splits pretty evenly, sometimes breaking one way or the other by only a few dozen votes.  Yesterday Whitefish elected a guy with ties to white supremacist groups, and the Dem in HD 5 (and one of my co-workers brothers-in-law) lost by 5+ points.  Welcome to NW Montana.

True cynicism, something I partially believe in my least hopeful moods, is this quotation: “I can’t help feeling that if Obama were a white man, the tea party wouldn’t even exist.”  It was left by a commenter on this excellent article by Tim Egan, which is the most succinct big-picture explanation I’ve yet found of the “republican wave” of 2010.  Egan isn’t the only one making the point that president Obama has (likely intentionally) sacrificed election results on the altar of policy achievement, and while Obama’s historical reputation is already secure for many reasons, the question of what carnage and nastiness 2012 will bring is wide open.

It’s easy to say that the people know how to spend their money better than the government does.  That tautology is as viscerally inarguable as it is false.  One ideal Obama espoused in 2008, and has thus far fallen short on, is raising the bar of public behavior and discourse, or making it less acrimonious by making it more substantive.  I hope that just as the president better knows better than I how to spend taxes on public projects, so to will he know how to elevate politics in the face of John Boehner.  Because I certainly don’t know how.

5 responses to “Cynicism”

  1. You believe a professional ruling class can make better decisions than the masses?That is the sort of elitist thinking that got the Democrats in this position.I also don't feel anyone cares about Obama's race except liberals.Egan thinks the Republicans bought this election. Read this and prepare to be sickened: a waste. Republican overall spending seems to be around 2% more. What a waste in this high stakes game we call government. The whole thing sickens me.The policy and money would be so much better left in local hands IMO.Sigh. This is why I have been independent the last couple years. The first pro life democrat to come along will get my vote:)

  2. Here's what gets me about Tea Party-ers: "Take our country back". What exactly does that mean? Take it back from whom? Where did it go?I don't know about you younger ones, but my retirement fund went up more in two years of Obama than eight years of Bush. If the Tea Party intends to take the country back to lower gains, then please don't take my country back to that.

  3. I think that in a hugely diverse country of 300+ million, things like equitable taxation and funding of education are not simple, and best sorted by people with knowledge and experience in the matter. I think that W wasn't smart enough to be president.I think that Citizen's United was a horrid example of an activist conservative court.Without a federal government we'd have the articles of confederation, no national parks, no endangered species and little resource protection. In short, not the country in which all of us exalt.I think the repubs, moreso than usual, fell back on cheap truisms which make good sound bites and have no substantive use as policy. And sadly Obama as party leader did a crappy job doing more than being reactionary.

  4. PS: If you don't already, you might give the Wall Street Journal a try. I read both the NYT and WSJ and let them fight it out. In general, I find the WSJ commentaries/reporting to be better, but they may just confirm my bias.

  5. Case in point: article makes me less cynical about the future of publicly funded education. Hopeful even.Mr Dial: my retirement fund lost 1/2 of its value suddenly in 2008 and at this point, two years later it is simply back to where it was plus a little mostly my contributions.

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