So much for the year of pretending
The new law that made modest but important improvements to the nation's health insurance system -- including some common- sense things that nonetheless took almost a century to achieve -- was going to be President Obama's signature accomplishment heading into the 2010 midterm elections. Until, that is, Democrats forgot how to defend themselves by speaking clear English in front of television cameras and instead scrambled for cover amid misguided cries of Marxism and fascism and other things that are neither the same nor true.
The election of a batch of tea-party-fueled conservative Republican congressmen was supposed to signal a new era of fiscal discipline and concern for balanced budgets. Until, that is, the time came for GOP leaders to stand firm in defense of tax cuts for multimillionaires instead of using that money to pay down the very deficit that is supposedly the nation's foremost problem.
The emergence of Artur Davis and Bradley Byrne as Alabama's leading gubernatorial contenders was going to give state voters a vigorous governor's race with a vibrant discussion of the sort of reforms needed to propel Alabama into the 21st century. Until, that is, primary voters chose instead a comparative snore-fest between a guy whose campaign made him come across as a one-trick gambling pony and a guy who can create jobs because, um, he's a doctor?
The ascendance of the Alabama Crimson Tide to the top of the preseason football polls on the heels of a resounding national championship victory was supposed to mark the beginning of a decade-long dynasty the likes of which no one has ever seen, or at least hasn't seen since ESPN spent the entire 2005 season pumping up USC for a fall. And OK, the dynasty still might happen, but three losses sure were a revolting turn of events in the face of restored high expectations. (Seriously, has anyone looked into Peyton Manning's whereabouts on that one solitary afternoon when a quarterback alleged to be Stephen Garcia turned into the destroyer of worlds?)
All of those things and so much more were going to be different, but they weren't. Ah, well, that's life. Let's try again in 2011. Happy new year, everyone.