The Obama campaign has settled on a winning slogan, it seems. Written on the outside of a recent (unopened, soon-to-be-recycled) mailing are the words “Jasper, this time will be different.” Ah, yes—I’ve heard that before, said it to people I’ve loved and not loved, said it to myself, placed it at the very front of the card files marked pure and utter bullshit and electoral politics, hollowness of. Seriously, do you think they could have come up with anything that rings more false than this? The phrase is nothing less than the rhetoric of the addict’s (or the obsessive’s) superego. Jasper, this time will be different. Following on the heels of which comes a temporary loss of consciousness, of self-possession, and when you return to your senses you have a cigarette in your mouth, you’re walking out of the liquor store with a fifth clutched tightly to your side, walking back from the parking lot where you meet your connect, you’re lying in his or her bed, you’re walking out of the polling booth where you’ve just voted for the murder of hundreds of thousands and the immiseration of hundreds of millions. Fill in the rest yourself.
But, as The Dark Knight teaches us, the American people, those loveable schlemiels, need something to believe in, they need hope, never mind if that hope comes with a variable rate mortgage.