I guess it's a sign that I've been doing this a while; I'm starting to come across things that remind me of past blog posts. First, this from James Lileks, who recently did something that I did and mentioned here a few months ago. Naturally, he is more eloquent.
It’s the Parade of Homes, if you can describe driving all over hell and back to look at large, stationary objects. If they all floated past down the street with the occasional elephant, that would be different. But no. You go somewhere, take off your shoes, wander around and think “relative to these people, I have failed.” All the things one would like in life – incredible views, big living rooms with comfortable appointments, perfect offices, tubs built for a sumo wrestler – here they are, and this is as close as you’ll get, pal.
Then the other day a co-worker asked me how I thought Obama was doing in a tone that suggested (a) that she is not an Obama supporter and (b) she thought that I am, as opposed to my actual stance since before the election, which has been that competence was badly needed in the office after 8 years of buffoonery, and that only an Obama victory would guarantee the necessary housecleaning. I told her that I have never had terribly high expectations for his administration. When he took office Obama was handed a burning bag of gasoline-soaked manure. Stomping on it would only do so much; he would have to let it burn out and accept the fact that he was going to smell bad in the process. I also said that I wondered if a small part of John McCain is glad he lost.
This conversation brought back a memory of some posts back in September 2008. One was an offshoot of my thoughts on political ads of 1976.
.....when I remember what the country was like at the time, I can't help but think that whoever won that election was probably screwed. When Harold Macmillan was asked what represented the greatest challenge for a statesman, he replied "Events, my dear boy, events." Events of the time were overtaking the ability of just about anyone to deal with them. They were going to have to run their course, and the President overseeing it was going to take a beating. Part of me wonders if that's going to be the case in 2008.
Then a few days later....
In a post last Sunday I mentioned the possibility that the next President is in for trouble. Gerard Baker agrees.
When the votes are counted his people might ruefully conclude that the victor is not Barack Obama or John McCain. The real winner will be Hillary Clinton, or Mitt Romney, or Mike Huckabee, or some now happily anonymous figure whose star will rise in the next four turbulent years.
2008 may be the best year there has been to lose an election.
I wonder if Herbert Hoover - at one time one of the most admired men in American history - ever wished he had lost in 1928?
The short answer I should have given my colleague was, "So far, sadly, about as well as I expected."