The Bush administration could have focused the government’s attention and resources on bringing al Qaida to justice, but it didn’t. We’ve got a couple of quagmires to show for it. Similarly, the Obama administration could have focused narrowly on getting the economy back on its feet, on getting the unemployed back to work, but it didn’t. Instead, it has followed Bush’s lead, pushing its most ardently desired policies through the window of crisis. A prolonged economic quagmire may be our reward.
This marriage of incompetence and craven opportunism is so much in the familiar spirit of the age that one must conclude that the age itself remains unchanged. Sadly, the thrill is not gone; the Aughts ain’t over yet. Indeed, with Obama’s doubling down in Afghanistan, with the bumbling reaction and collective freakout to the threat of explosive underwear, it seems this decade isn’t even winding down. Perhaps it is too much to hope that politicians would fit their ambitions to the times rather than screwing us all in their hapless attempts to capitalize on crises. But let us pray that this damnable, dreary decade does not, like Andersen’s ’80s, last 26 years.