Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Era of Least-Worse Solutions

As the century's first decade winds down, what stands out to someone who has lived through many of them is how America's problems today are being "solved" by angry confrontations, sour and inconsistent compromises, hopeless shrugs and variations thereof.

Health care reform, the Afpak war, the crippled economy, the imperiled climate--all are being confronted, despite a rhetorically gifted president's formulations, by a population that seems to have lost faith in human progress or even simple competence.

Opinion polls show losses for Barack Obama but gains for whom or what? As voters on the left and right grow impatient with the Great Non-White Hope of a year ago, to whom or what are they turning? Certainly not to the Congressional leaders of a balkanized majority or a loyal opposition whose only program is to hold their breath until they turn blue against all spending or tax increases. Is there a serious voice in that cacophony of whining about government control?

On the brink of passing (or perhaps not) a bullet-ridden version of health care reform, Democrats are losing Howard Dean, Bernie Sanders, union leaders and others all along their own political spectrum

The President has made an agonizing decision about more troops for Afghanistan, but even he is sounding an uncertain trumpet about eventual success in that hopelessly corrupt region.

In Copenhagen, he will encounter not a new era of international cooperation but the same old bickering between developed states and the third world, pointing fingers at one another.

As Barack Obama faces his second year in office, how or when will he get the chance to preside over an America that doesn't need fingers in dikes everywhere as it searches for the least-worse solutions to its flood of problems?


Anonymous said...

it's over for America, be glad you lived when you did, the rich think they will be saved, ( they will not), the coldness of their hearts and their unending greed will destroy it all... pathetic sorry little children... never knowing when they have enough...

Serious Implications said...

I feel a hangover from eight years of Bush-Cheney. It'll go away, but I'll sure never "drink" any of that stuff again.