When The Decline and Fall of the American Republic is written centuries hence, the date October 17, 2012, will occupy a prominent place in the narrative. On this day, a playoff game between the Yankees and the Tigers in Detroit was called not because of rain, but because of … the threat of rain. Just as today’s “liberalism has become hardly more than a trembling in the presence of illiberalism,” so, in Obama’s America, Major League Baseball cancels games not because of rain but because of trembling in the presence of the threat of rain.
The quotation about liberalism references Kristol’s latest Weekly Standard feature.
Obama is depressed because today’s liberalism is depressing. Obama is world-weary because modern liberalism is world-weary. Hope and change was just campaign talk. The real existing liberal president lives in an atmosphere of reduced hope and hostility to needed change. As Mansfield puts it, “Obama’s air of ennui in the debate arises not just from his personal character of cool but more from his thoughts about the future. He sees America in decline. He does not say it, but he sees it, and it determines his politics as well as his demeanor.”