Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union Address on Tuesday night. That might seem like a long time ago when it comes to standard news cycles, but I decided that someone has to take their time when responding to think it through a bit. If you’re already tired of this analysis, I’ll understand.
A complex world where we have just about any information we want at our fingertips isn’t a world that’s limited by the answers. It’s limited by our ability to ask the right questions. That may sound like more sophistry from a wannabe mystic, in case you’re getting tired of my schtick. But if journalism is about connecting people to their world it seems that the ways it is changing are directly related to the size of the world that people have the ability to connect to. That might best be handled by changing the entire approach to news.
What would make a recovery sustainable? If you ask an economist, they’d tell you that what makes any economy grow and prosper is, ultimately, what they call “productivity gains”. That’s the ability to make more with less that allows a people to propser. During the 1990s this was given as the reason why interest rates could remain low and we could have one Hell of a party – a sloppy, hazy bender. We live in the hangover that resulted, but have we really learned how intoxicating this one, simple idea is?
The public flagellation over the loss in Massachusetts has started to consume Democrats, as nearly anyone could expect. But there’s one angle to this that has been strangely missing, a way of looking at it that we used to be able to count on – that Martha Coakley was a woman. Was that important? I happen to think that it was, but not necessarily in the way that most people might expect. If we’re going to prevent this kind of loss in the future, there are many lessons that we should learn. This is one of them.
It should have been an easy win. The Republicans hadn’t held that seat in the Senate since John F. Kennedy defeated Henry Cabot Lodge in 1952. But something went terribly wrong, something that will probably echo through the summer and into the mid-term election this November. That means that the Democrats have 10 months to either figure out what’s wrong or descend into a paralyzing psychoanalysis about the past, present and future of the party.
Guess which I think is going to happen?