Since last February I’ve seen bumper stickers, and sometimes signs and t-shirts, celebrating my upcoming birthday. “1-20-09,” they read. Sometimes they added: “End of an Error,” which I thought a bit much. The first 45 years of my life have had their share of bumps but I wouldn’t say they were an “error.” That’s a tough decision from the official scorer.
OK, jokes aside, you and I and the world have been waiting for this day. It’s not just because the most incompetent guy is leaving. It’s because the most competent guy is arriving. For the past year I’ve littered this blog with the overall thought that the wrong guy — the guy obsessed with numbers rather than people, with getting ahead rather than helping others get ahead — is invariably put in charge. That’s certainly the lesson of “The Wire.” It’s even the lesson of that recent article on Tim Palen and marketing. We’ve become a nation that sells the insubstantial so well we’ve convinced ourselves it’s substantial. Maybe that’s the error we’re tryng to end.
It’s been a helluva ride. I first heard him speak at the annual Minnesota Democratic-Farm-Labor dinner in downtown Minneapolis in the spring of '06 and he cut through my cynicism right away. “Jesus,” I thought, “this guy could do it.” He was my guy from the get-go, even as the press 1) dismissed him too soon, then 2) annointed him too soon, then 3) invariably missed the point. But I still had my doubts. Sure, the Democrats might vote for him. But the nation? When idiocies flared up, when Palen and that circus arrived, when community organizers were dismissed out-of-hand as somehow undeserving, he stayed calmer than I did. I went to him to get calm. He gave us this, and this, and this. We gave him this.
I’m 46 today and the most competent guy is arriving. It's the best birthday present I ever got.
Now let’s get this party started.