To salvage anything he has to go back to the known knowns. Like a man in a swimming pool who belatedly realizes that he can’t swim, his first step must be to extend his foot to see if he can reach bottom. If not, then where is the nearest gutter? The problem is the floundering man in the pool had introduced himself as the next Michael Phelps. Now he has to save himself without letting on.
The administration is caught between demoralization and the need to maintain appearances. More broadly, this is true of the left as a whole in this moment of crisis. Try as they might, the left can’t think of a way to reverse the catastrophes of their making because, like a bad leak that can’t be addressed by a washer change, the fault lies behind their wall. To fix things they’re going to have to rip everything out and start almost from the beginning.
The attraction of Ferguson was it offered them momentary escape into a re-enaction of the Old Days. Freedom Rider and all that. But it’s 2014 and not 1964 and when Ferguson fades, ISIS and Putin and the recession will still be there. Neither Obama nor the Left can handle the truth, so they won’t handle it.
Therefore they will remain transfixed, in a state compounded of fear, nervous laughter, bravado and denial, until a hit big enough comes along to snap them out of it. But the fear is there. It was there even when Remnick interviewed Obama in January. Like a man feeling the first indefinite symptoms of a disease, he must have guessed something was wrong and already thinking of how to shift the blame.