Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Cranky Conquers All

The national mood disorder is getting worse as Americans act out their unhappiness in every venue available--from the fiasco in late-night TV programming to the election of Ted Kennedy's successor.

Details don't matter. The overriding theme is that whoever has been pulling the strings is guilty of something and has to be punished.

Even as the President's approval ratings keep plummeting, he tries to divert attention to an even juicier target in his weekly address--the bankers who were saved by government bailouts and are still practicing the bad habits that made them necessary

"We want the taxpayers’ money back, and we’re going to collect every dime," Mr. Obama says, proposing new fees to recover the rest of the $1 trillion bailout. "If the big financial firms can afford massive bonuses, they can afford to pay back the American people."

Revenge is the plat du jour, and it's being savored, hot or cold, everywhere. Even those viewers who gave Conan O'Brien dismal ratings when he replaced Jay Leno are now flocking to watch him as he berates the NBC bosses who tried to solve the problem.

In Massachusetts, for the "Kennedy seat" of more than half a century, polls are so alarming that the President, although overwhelmed by the crisis in Haiti, is taking time this weekend to campaign for the Democrat, whose vote will be vital to pass a health care reform bill.

We are well past the by-the-numbers outrage drummed up the Tea Party promoters and into some twilight zone of national discontent that seems to be feeding on itself, no matter what the merits of the issue.

"With populist anger running strong," a New York Times analysis observes, "anything that smacks of establishment entitlement is politically dangerous." Or as columnist Gail Collins puts it more succinctly, "the voters are sending a message that they are in a bad mood."

The only problem with all this is the history lesson that, when the tide runs high to "throw the rascals out," (.i.e, LBJ and Nixon), voters end up by throwing even worse rascals in.


Fuzzy Slippers said...

Your last paragraph is spot on. Everyone was in such a rush to throw the rascal (Bush) out that they didn't look at what they were voting IN. That rascal and all his cohorts much go. This year it starts. We'll finish up in 2012. :)

Holte Ender said...

Actually in 2008 the electorate didn't throw the rascal (Bush) out, they voted against two entirely different rascals.

Fuzzy Slippers said...

Actually, Holte, BO ran against President Bush and is STILL running against him.

Indeed, Marcia tried to run against him in Mass. Epic fail.