Via Ross, Ezra Klein explains why, in fact, America is bent for dishonest campaigns and gutter politics, and why politicians who are more conversant in those arts will likely succeed, leading us inevitably to having the worst possible people as leaders and ensuring we continue to reward those who act in the most dispicable way possible in electoral politics. (OK, I through a little of my own editorializing in there. Read the post.)
I've always found the saying that "in a democracy, the people get the leadership they deserve" to be a little too flippant-sounding. But it's largely correct. Our democracy will be as our people make it. What if the people aren't good enough or smart enough to demand a righteous form of self-government? I do think that process, honesty and character matters. I do think that there is a right way to act on the campaign trail, I do think that lies and distortions should be punished electorally, and I don't think that you can just wave your hand and say "everybody does it". But I have no expectation, anymore, that the majority of our country feels that way. What happens when the people in a democracy consistently don't support what's right or what's best? If the press and the government act according to what the people want, and what the people want is consistently self-defeating... we're in trouble.
Meanwhile, the economy is showing more and more signs of being close to utter and complete collapse, or at least a severe downturn, which will further damage a down job market that I (at least ostensibly) am currently searching in. Your humble servant may soon be blogging about selling pencils and oranges on an onramp to the interstate.
(If anybody out there works for a college or university and wants to hire me in any capacity, drop a line. I'll do anything and relocate anywhere for very little money. Seriously.
I make great coffee.)