“We urgently need to embark on a 12-step program that will enable us to heal.” He argues that the election of Barack Obama was the triumph of biography over achievement, of empty promise over performance, the result of aspiring to elitism.“Outside of technical fields, proverbially brain surgery and rocket science,” he says,“academic credentials are an indication not of achievement, but of promise.” Mr. Obama posed as Harvard scholar, but since he has resolutely refused to release any evidence of student prowess we don’t know whether he was the academic genius he assures us he was, or a fraud laughing at how easy it was to fool so many people. Only by taking 12 measured steps can voters cure themselves of addiction to the idea that there’s a solution for every problem, to the temptation to find someone to blame for frustration and disappointment, for the addiction to denial, and finally to recognize the importance of attaining what he calls voting sobriety.“Even when we realized this president was incompetent,” he writes,“we were in denial about our own incompetence as voters.” Mr. Carpel, eager though he is to repent and make amends, may well be embarked on a fool’s errand. The elites are unlikely to see their practiced error in judgment; how can anyone with a Ph.D be so wrong when he’s so sincere? But there may be hope for enough of the rest of us.Obamania, in this view, has the classic features of addiction: the buzz, the rush, the flush, the high, the euphoric contentment.“And now we’re experiencing the inevitable comedown: the crash, the craving when the addiction isn’t satisfying, the misery of withdrawal.” Only with recovery can addicts begin to cast sober ballots. No more dream of being delivered into a fairytale kingdom of Arthurian legend.“The president’s job isn’t to pull a sword out of a stone. It’s to manage the nation’s government and to inspire Americans to be their best selves.” Mr. Carpel is correct that we’ve become a culture addicted to wishes and dreams, where celebrity reigns and entertainment is all. The circus is fun, and addiction feels good for a little while. But there may be hope for change. Who wants to be the town drunk forever?
Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.