"I don't want to pretend that today marks the end of our economic problems," the president said on Tuesday at the signing ceremony in Denver. He added, hopefully: "But today does mark the beginning of the end."
No one knows, of course, but a bigger question may be whether we really want to know. One of the most persistent cultural tics of the early 21st century is Americans' reluctance to absorb, let alone prepare for, bad news. We are plugged into more information sources than anyone could have imagined even 15 years ago. The cruel ambush of 9/11 supposedly "changed everything," slapping us back to reality. Yet we are constantly shocked, shocked by the foreseeable. Obama's toughest political problem may not be coping with the increasingly marginalized G.O.P. but with an America-in-denial that must hear warning signs repeatedly, for months and sometimes years, before believing the wolf is actually at the door.
Nevermind that what's best for the country might very well BE that nationalization, at least for the now. Nevermind that 310 million Americans stand to benefit from the security of knowing the government really will step in and help. This handful of a thousand, checkbooks open, pens at the ready, will attempt to wrest the good of the nation out of the greedy clutches of the people.