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Translating the ‘America is ungovernable’ meme.

I thought that I would offer a translation service for those trying to work out a certain mood that seems to have arisen in our pundit class. Ben Smith noticed the underlying phenomena, too – but I don’t think that he’s quite prepared to be quite as blunt as I am, or as happy to be blunt about it as I am prepared to be.

Anyway, onto the translations:

Todd Purdum, Vanity Fair:

But the modern presidency—Barack Obama’s presidency—has become a job of such gargantuan size, speed, and complexity as to be all but unrecognizable to most of the previous chief executives. The sheer growth of the federal government, the paralysis of Congress, the systemic corruption brought on by lobbying, the trivialization of the “news” by the media, the willful disregard for facts and truth—these forces have made today’s Washington a depressing and dysfunctional place. They have shaped and at times hobbled the presidency itself.

Translation: The President is incompetent.

Matt Bai, New York Times:

The country’s economic trajectory heading into November is probably unchangeable at this point, which means that nothing the president does now is likely to alter the grim data confronting the electorate.

Such powerlessness in the face of economic free fall has emerged as a hallmark of the modern presidency.

Translation: The President is incompetent.

George Packer, The New Yorker:

Nine years later, the main fact of our lives is the overwhelming force of unreason. Evidence, knowledge, argument, proportionality, nuance, complexity, and the other indispensable tools of the liberal mind don’t stand a chance these days against the actual image of a mob burning an effigy, or the imagined image of a man burning a mound of books.

Translation: The President is incompetent.

Andrew Sullivan, The Altantic:

It is as if America is intent on destroying itself, its civil society, its fiscal future, and its next generation in an endless fit of mutual recrimination, neurotic nationalism, and religious division.

Translation: The President is incompetent… and I, Andrew Sullivan, wish to have sexual relations with THAT WOMAN*.

[pause]

Hey, I never said that translating these would be hard.

Moe Lane

*OK, on that last one I’m just extrapolating from existing data.

Crossposted to Moe Lane.

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