Friday, July 06, 2007

America's Adolescent Moodiness

Bill Kristol, writing in Time Magazine, observes that 3/4 of Americans think the country is on the wrong track, 2/3 disapprove of the President's job performance, and even more disdain Congress. To counter, he offers some perspective:
Have events in general gone better or worse than most people would have predicted on Sept. 12, 2001? There's been no successful second attack here in the U.S.--and very limited terrorist successes in Europe or even in the Middle East. We've had 5 1/2 years of robust economic growth, low unemployment and a stock-market recovery. Social indicators in the U.S. are mostly stable or improving--abortions, teenage births and teenage drug use are down and education scores are up a bit. It may well be that no other country has ever been stronger than the U.S. today--and it may well be that no other people in human history have ever had it quite so good.
Here is the conclusion to his piece:
Why are we subject to periodic bouts of distemper? Is it a deep problem with modern democracy? Is it an even deeper problem with human nature? Or do we just have a tendency to get sick of Presidents named Bush? We don't know. The fact is that George W. Bush can probably do little to change the national mood--or the national judgment of him--over the next 18 months. For our part, however, we can hope that future historians look back on our adolescent moodiness of 2007 with as much puzzlement as some college students showed recently when I tried to explain to them just how it was that Perot got all those votes 15 years ago.