Thursday, November 09, 2006


J Pod flies a bit too close to the sun.

You can't name a president who's had a good second term in modern history (well, maybe Coolidge). Wilson was felled by illness. FDR came up with a crazy scheme about packing the Supreme Court. Eisenhower had Sputnik, Sherman Adams' vicuna coat and Francis Gary Powers. Nixon had Watergate explode. Reagan had Iran Contra. Clinton had Monica. Bush has had...well, you know.

No, I don't know. Is it possible that if you forced yourself to recite the list out loud for the entire class, you might begin to grasp the importance of it? Or is it simply that your paycheck depends on you never understanding it?

As for the Clenis, yes he had Monica, and yes it was tacky and tiresomely disingenuous, but that's because it's exactly how your side wanted it to be. What it really was, when you get right down to it, was a tremendous wasted opportunity for the country, for the world, hamstringing a guy who had the rare combination of talent and desire to do great things. And all in the name of encouraging thieves and charlatans who have nothing but small, mendacious things on their radar.

Even (maybe especially) when these weasels try to be fluffy and superficial with their breezy little observations, they still invariably manage to betray deeper, more systematic levels of cognitive dissonance. I understand JPod's larger point about second terms being derailed by scandals and events, but sometimes those scandals are simply of the person's own choosing. No one forced Clenis to get hummers from an intern, but nor did anyone force Reagan to turn a blind eye to his minions' infernal dabbling in Iran-Contra. Nor did anyone force Bush to ignore Afghanistan like a Ritalin-addled fourth-grader, to spend the next x amount of years fucking the dog in Iraq.

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