A while back I mentioned, in a quite different context, an essay by Isaac Asimov (?) on Soviet science fiction, in which he argued that the two main themes of Western sci-fi — “what if” and “if only” — were ruled out; instead, writers wrote on the theme “if only this goes on”.
And that was the theme of Obama’s speech last night. And you know what? That was perfectly fine.
Obama couldn’t talk about how wonderful things are, because they aren’t. Nor could he run against his own record. So he had to make the case that things will get much better if he gets a second term, while getting much worse if he doesn’t.
And there’s a lot to that case. If Obama is reelected, we’ll have near-universal health coverage by 2014. That’s a very big thing. Financial reform is also important — and has already been enacted. And there’s a good chance that he’ll get to preside over an economic recovery that will validate his record, too.
There’s been a chorus of disapproval from pundits who wanted … what? It wasn’t appropriate for him to replay the Clinton wonkfest. He wasn’t going to unveil major new proposals. He made the case he needed to make, and did it well.
On a related note, Digby catches National Review portraying Romney and Ryan as Stakhanovites:
Now, back to the hospital.