Jewish World Review Nov. 1, 2010 / 25 Mar-Cheshvan, 5771
First Hope, Then Memory
By Paul Greenberg
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There is the party of hope and there is the party of memory, and often enough they are the same party just a couple of years removed. For the bright hopes of election season inevitably give way to the harsh realities of exercising power -- for good or ill. Then the party in power is weighed in the balance, and its performance compared with its promises.
When that party it is found wanting, there is no refuge like recalling those halcyon days when all was possible, when hope and change were in the air. Now excuses must be made, and in politics nostalgia can be a useful substitute for accomplishment.
Democrats have been singing "Happy Days Here Again" at national conventions since
Once upon a terrible time, when the country was about to be plunged into civil war, a new, third party was going to somehow save the Union from the
As the political pendulum swings, an always fickle public now shows signs of rebelling against the party it was cheering madly only a couple of years ago. Once again, the latest Permanent Majority in American politics turns out to be not so permanent after all.
So the party of hope must become the party of memory, the past proudly recalled, and voters offered a distraction from the unsatisfying present.
No one can reasonably blame any party for not ushering in the Age of Utter Perfection. That's not the way the world works. But who said elections are exercises in reason? Has there been a presidential candidate who sought to reason with the American people since
The root of the
Even the most backward-looking party can get away with blaming the country's problems on a past president only so long.
Now it's the
But the Republicans may have to postpone their victory parade if they don't learn what
So what is it the
While it's clear that the
There's a name for what's missing in this year's electoral wasteland: vision. Even if the Republicans manage to win an off-year election without one, what would such a victory be worth? For where there is no vision, the prophet told us, the people perish. So do political parties.
JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.
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