Is anybody else feeling just kind of totally depressed about the political and economic scene of the moment? And not just for the obvious reasons? As the possibility of an Obama victory becomes more and more tangible, I find myself more and more down about it. Not because I don’t want it: I want it desperately. But because even the possibility seems to be producing an infinitely escalating spiral of spew from hardcore opponents of Obama. I feel like I’m drowning in the sheer madness of it. I read a lot of it and say, “Really, what’s the point of even trying to talk about any of this? This is either someone who has just lost their sense of proportion utterly or someone who is so malicious that my only reasonable response is to edge away slowly and hope they don’t notice me.”
All you folks who’ve thrown around “Bush Derangement Syndrome” so casually as a label in the last seven years. All I can say is that in February 2001, I said to a lot of friends, “Come on, this won’t be so bad.” I did not have strong feelings about either candidate in 2000, to be truthful. I said in October 2001, “Maybe this guy will grow into his role–he’s owed the benefit of the doubt, he asked for us to come together”. (Honestly. Read some of what I’ve put out there about my reaction at the time.) If I ever became “deranged”, it was about things which actually happened, a tangible, real record of failure and malfeasance that I think is historically remarkable in the context of the American Presidency. I’m reading plenty of people now who seem to me so much more deranged, more out-of-their-skulls batshit crazy than the most fringe puppet-waving no-blood-for-oil-sign-waver you could possibly conjure up after a night of watching Fox News in a drunken stupor. So. Seriously, don’t mention “Bush Derangement Syndrome” around me any more, because whatever your yardstick is, if you’re not adding another three or four yards to it right now, you’re either not paying attention or you’re one of the lotus-eaters.
Update Judging from some press reports in the last few days, some of this kind of reaction may be worrying John McCain as well. Now were I him, even as a matter of political calculation, I might wonder if giving a strongly worded speech telling some of his supporters to cut out all the nutty conspiratorial or racist crap would be a shrewd as well as honorable move, giving at least some independents some reason to see McCain as a principled person. It certainly would be a genuinely maverick gesture to make.