["Here Are Some Thoughts I Have For America!" is a column that rounds up only the very finest American punditry of the past week through a complicated process of recombination.]
Yes, I understand that I should rightly be embarrassed for making this claim. But no, it's not because of the obvious fact that both Biden and Clinton have repeatedly claimed that they want no part of such a swap, or that there isn't any indication that the White House would do such a thing, or that even if the White House and Biden and Clinton wanted to it would be treated by the media as a fundamental sign of desperation and by their opponents as a sign of weakness. It's not because of the unambiguous absence of any compelling reason to make a change like this. And it has nothing to do with the fact that such a change-up would not result in a single needle being moved in the White House's favor.
No. The reason I am embarrassed to be here, telling you that Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden are definitely going to switch jobs is because I have waited so long to come out and make this claim in my column. I am, to my considerable chagrin, very late to this, and I understand that I will not reap as much glory as the many thousands of people who have come before me, to make this daft claim.
But it can't be helped. People are talking about Clinton and Biden making a switch. They are talking about this at parties. Good parties. Sally Quinn's parties. And if I'd had a lick of sense I would have long ago joined in, using the constantly reinforced refrain of cocktail chatter as definitive proof of an oncoming twist in reality. Had I done so, I would have reaped the rewards much sooner. Sally would have looked on me with her thoughtful gaze, anointed mine eyes with the blood of a mourning dove, and allowed me access to her Labyrinth of Meditation, which -- as I am learning now, for the first time -- is a place of Wonder. And also Minotaurs.
From this vantage, the once formless mass of thought-gorp that only yesterday sluiced around my brain like a glass of tepid milk is beginning to congeal. The world outside the Labyrinth: in tumult. Its people: needful. The tide: rising in the distance. And what's clear is that something is going to happen. Definitely. Unless it doesn't. In that case, it won't. But almost certainly, something will happen. Probably.
Here I summon unto me the great minds to which I have been exposed, through the books that I am sent in the mail and the discussions -- heady, lasting until dawn's first light -- that I have enjoyed at Davos. It seems clear to me that this world of ours is heading for a Great Concordance of the Divergent. Though one can't entirely deny the possibility that we are on the precipice of a Great Divergence of the Converged. It's hard to tell which of these Great Events Viewable Only From Deep Space is actually occurring. And yet I am of the belief that in any event, I am going to make out okay. (But if you find out differently, please email me!)
But whether we are heading for a Great Entropy or a Similarly Great Syntropy, I feel that it's important that we sail ahead with some sense of decorum. And so I feel compelled to come out against all of this Occupation of Wall Street that I am seeing throughout the nation. Yes, I could not agree more that Wall Street should be protested. "Its resistance to needed regulations that would stabilize the U.S. economy is shameful. And, insofar as it has long opposed appropriate levels of government spending and taxation, it has helped to create a society that does a deeply flawed job of providing for its most vulnerable, educating its young, and guaranteeing economic opportunity for all."
Okay? I agree with all of that. But I just cannot abide what I am seeing in the streets of America. All of this endless commingling of common people -- their thoughts sprawling hither and yon, their angst worn too evidently on their sleeve, their tonsorial habits too varied and non-traditional -- is just so déclassé. Yes, your problems feel real to you, but we are working on them, in our Grand Salons, and we should be able to actualize a Paradigm Shift any day now. You Zuccotti Park masses should show some faith in the process.
What do you think provides my fertile imagination with the nourishment it needs to contend with the great struggles of our age: a loud drum circle in the Financial District, or our ability to believe that somewhere out of sight, you are greeting your problems with stoic calm and good cheer? A change will come! Until then, have you considered taking a little bit of pride in the unrequited sacrifices you have made to save Wall Street and follow in the grand American tradition of getting screwed by the system with quiet dignity? We all need to be looking forward, not backward.
And I say that to you with a heart full of sympathy because I, too, have had my moments of doubt. For example, it has recently come to my attention that in response to foreign threats, the executive branch seems to have exceeded the limits placed on it by the Constitution. No, I am not talking about how we're now constantly under the threat of surveillance. I'm not bothered at all by the thought of my phone being tapped. In fact, I find this so called "loss of liberty" to be liberating for all involved! Now I can chat on the phone knowing full well that I am broadcasting my ideas to people -- drones, really -- who wouldn't ordinarily be exposed to them. To be honest, the only change I made in my habits when I heard that the government might be listening in on my phone conversations was to make a mental note to stop signing off with "good-bye" and instead conclude all of my calls by saying, "You're welcome."
That said, this news that the President of the United States has a secret assassination list that's only been cleared by a pair of lawyers from the Office of Legal Counsel is troubling. Who are these two lawyers? Did they graduate from top-tier law schools? Has anyone from the Aspen Ideas Festival weighed in on this? Until I know for sure, my heart will remain unsteady. So I am asking "the attorney general or the president" to explain this to me.
Surely, they will demonstrate the same capacity for rigorous self-criticism as I have.
Hillary Clinton Over Joe Biden in 2012? Possible [Bloomberg View]
The rumor that won't die [Joan Walsh @ Salon]
Something's Happening Here [The New York Times]
Tom Friedman Does Not Know What's Happening Here [Gawker]
Protests and Power [The New Republic]
The Editors Of The New Republic Find These Wall Street Protests To Be Oh-So-Terribly Gauche! [The Huffington Post]
Who signed Anwar al-Awlaki's death warrant? [Washington Post]
Richard Cohen suddenly worried about scope of presidential anti-terror powers [Alex Pareene @ Salon]