Being in New York in the run up to the 2008 presidential election was an interesting experience. All in a day’s walk, I’d pass vendors and happy consumers of Obama paintings, Obama rhinestone T-shirts, even Obama condoms.
Sometime in October that year, a friend asked me if I could feel the excitement of what was about to happen—when Obama would be elected as president. This particular friend was a fiscal conservative, so I was surprised to hear his enthusiasm for Obama. While he gushed with excitement about all the change Obama could bring, I remember laughing. It all sounded like a young relationship heading for breakup: You’ve found someone who you can’t get out of your mind—in the sweetness of infatuation, you see the rest of your life played out with this person. You’re filling in the gaps with your imagination of a great future. But it’s riding too much on those sweet hopes and less on practical reality and it’s bound to fall apart. It takes some people longer than others to realize a relationship’s heading nowhere, but it never ends well.
So I told him I’m happy for him in his new love, but I also warned it’s going to be a hard breakup if he puts all his hopes on one so soon. Now I see that many others, including Paul Waldman at the American Prospect , are feeling his pain.