Political Animal


June 22, 2012 8:50 AM The Promise of Better Times

By Ed Kilgore

Remember the late 1990s? That period where the Long Boom seemed like it might go on indefinitely; when new technologies were exploding into view around every corner; when all sorts of hubristic, Great Leap Forward talk was in the air, and when neither inflation nor unemployment seemed a particularly significant problem. Even the working poor were making income gains, for the first time in what seemed to be an eternity.

The great national mood dissipated quickly, didn’t it? And in the course of the years since, a lot of individual and collective investments and dreams have dissipated as well. Perhaps some of the disillusionment was inevitable, but you and I know that public policies, some well-intentioned, others entirely and deliberately malignant, played a big role as well.

If you made it through the Bush years and the Great Recession more or less intact, you can thank your lucky stars. But If I were you, I’d want to invest at least a little bit of my good fortune in anything I could think to do to keep a bright light shining on the shenanigans of our would-be rulers in Washington, and a loud voice raised against stupid policies that ruin lives. There are plenty of ways you can do that, but I hope you’ll consider making a donation to the Washington Monthly to keep this small but sometimes influential operation alive. It’s a whole lot cheaper than a political campaign, and a lot more emotionally satisfying than finding a congenial bit of sand in which to hide one’s head until better times arrive. They will, eventually, I can only hope, but they’ll get here faster if we all pitch in.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Daniel Kim on June 22, 2012 4:26 PM:

    Geez, I could almost taste that Peace Dividend! We were actually at Mitt Romney's barely acceptable 4 percent unemployment rate. It makes me sick to think that the Brooks Brothers Brownshirts and the Supreme Court were able to bring this country to such ruin. What a nightmare scenario!

    I really thought that Al Gore was a shoo-in, but I guess people were feeling so prosperous that they thought they could be Republicans. What a cruel joke.

    Sometimes I recall Al Gore's SNL intro, in which he gave an alternate-universe State of the Union address that described how we retired the National Debt, etc. I almost weep to think of what might have been.