Thursday, 18 September 2008

Adult supervision needed

You have to sympathize with the TV commentators these days as they search through the rubble of their standard commonplaces for someone to explain what on earth is going on in our economy and what is to be done about it. There’s just so much intoning of the mantras about ‘sound fundamentals’ (that already got McC in big trouble) and dispensing of the usual steady-hand-at-the-helm bromides you can dish out when the facts are in such sharp contrast.

One can troll for hours through the TV channels and the newspapers these days and hear nothing new. In fact, for all the fresh insights offered, I could put on a business suit and dispense learned commentary myself.

In times like these one doesn’t turn to one’s buddies at the VFW hall or the other PTA ladies because one knows perfectly well that, despite their cozily familiar faces, they don’t have any answers. In more optimistic times it was perhaps comforting for people to put an uncurious adolescent like W in charge because in certain essential ways he was like them—provincial, complacent, self-absorbed. Now, however, the need for real expertise is palpable.

I suspect that’s why the presidential poll numbers have swung back to where they were three weeks ago, even without the impact of the latest Wall Street panic. Palin may be an amusing figure, but laughing at war, bankruptcy and unemployment doesn’t make them go away. Even her most sympathetic backers know that. The Arctic Lady might well beat Obama on American Idol, but little by little the popularity-contest aspects of this race are evaporating.

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