Declining To Make Do With Low Expectations

The consensus seems to be that Bill Clinton’s speech to the Democratic National Convention was hugely effective for President Obama’s reelection campaign.  Many people have pointed to Clinton’s statement that no one — not even Clinton himself! — could have done a better with the economic challenges President Obama inherited as a key point in the speech.

Whether you agree with that sentiment or not — and I don’t agree with it — I think that viewpoint, by itself, represents a kind of sea change for Americans.  We always want things to be bigger, faster, cheaper, better.  We don’t settle.  We expect our sports teams to win and call for the coach’s head if they don’t.  We celebrate victors and shun losers.  If Americans are buying Bill Clinton’s argument, that says something about our country, and I think it says something sad.

We’ve never been cold realists.  This is a place of dreams, of surprising success stories, of Horatio Alger and “constant improvement.”  If we now just shrug and overlook or excuse crappy economic performance without holding people accountable, where are we heading as a country?

Oh, by the way, today the Commerce Department announced that durable goods orders fell by 13.2 percent, the worst drop since the depths of the recession.  That suggests that factory activity is down, and the economy is nowhere close to rebounding.  Bill Clinton might think that’s as good as anyone could do.  Sorry, Bill, I think you’re full of it.  I refuse to lower my expectations, and I think the performance of our economy right now is just unacceptable.  I suspect that many other Americans share that sentiment.

1 thought on “Declining To Make Do With Low Expectations

  1. WB, what do you think would restore the economy in four years? Beyond the government financial debacle, there was epic individual overextension. People financed homes and got equity loans at closing with no money down. Women were paying $1000 for a handbag!
    I hate to lower my expectations and abandon optimism too, but for me the reality demands pragmatism. It’s going to take a long time to get ourselves out of this horrendous financial hole we’re in.
    You know, I’m pretty frugal because I like to be prepared for any eventuality. I truly believed our standard of living wouldn’t change much but it has. All of the little treats I used to enjoy have gone by the wayside, in favor of added security for my family. I don’t want to have to eat cat food with ketchup on white bread.
    I am very interested in what measures can be taken that would speed us along to economic security. Please tell.


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