Obama's honeymoon, if it ever really existed -- remember, not one House Republican voted for the stimulus -- is over. Some have their theories as to the signs behind this turning point, but I have no doubt. It was the return of the Great American Freak Show, in the form of the wall-to-wall news coverage of the death of a song-and-dance man, once gifted, later creepy. If the triple-digit increase in television ratings are any sign, this is what you want from your news media. It is the "national conversation" you crave. Can a missing comely teenage blonde be far behind?
Obama's election gave us a moment of seriousness, to take stock of the troubles bearing down on us and make the urgent and consequential adjustments necessary to address them. Yet it is apparently not to be. Imagine if the outpouring for the song-and-dance man had been applied to universal healthcare or global warming? There would be no hopeless bottleneck in a Congress owned by big business, no Dianne Feinstein saying that criticism about healthcare legislation from the left "doesn't move her." No calling climate change a "hoax." As Paul Krugman pointed out in his Monday column, "The fact is that the planet is changing faster than even pessimists expected...And according to a number of recent studies, catastrophe — a rise in temperature so large as to be almost unthinkable — can no longer be considered a mere possibility. It is, instead, the most likely outcome if we continue along our present course."
Our present course, sadly, is to find fresh distractions. If you care to take a moment, however, here's a bit of what you probably missed in the past few days, reported by that hopeless "old media."