When I was very small, I insisted to anyone who’d listen that I was born on the planet “Ecton” and that I had superpowers. This lasted for a long time. I’m pretty sure I actually believed this to be true. I didn’t really think about running for president, though: that was just crazy. So I guess this one’s for you, four-year-old Reihan. I also remember eight-year-old Reihan, who was an ardent Dukakis supporter. I knew these kids who referred to Democrats as “Democraps,” which filled me with tiny, ineffectual rage. Say what you will about the McCain-Palin campaign — they never countenanced the “Democrap” smear.
One thing I like about both John McCain and Barack Obama, and also Bill Clinton, is that they were raised mainly by their mothers. I was lucky enough to be raised by both of my parents, though they both worked incredibly long hours. But when you consider Obama’s family background, it really does reflect some of the realities — some of the tough, not always pleasant realities — of our blended and fragmented families. My sense is that this experience has given Obama a lot of empathy, and an appreciation of the very complicated origins of difficult economic circumstances. That’s very valuable. Only half of American fifteen-year-olds are raised by both biological parents. Plenty of kids flourish under other arrangements, but it is a little tougher. And I suppose I like the idea that those children will have a very powerful advocate in the White House. So that is consolation.
The issues I’m worried about right now are: Iraq and Afghanistan and the openness of our healthcare system. I honestly don’t know what Obama is going to do about any of these things, but I’m hoping for the best. Casey Mulligan offers some calming thoughts.