Here’s the deal. Voters are going to get change next year, no matter how the election turns out. Even a McCain electoral miracle will inaugurate a dramatic change in contrast with the last eight years.

But the new circumstances will be sharply limiting for the new POTUS.

In an earlier post, for example, I pointed out (in “Obama’s Training Wheels” — ) that the hoped for money for Barack’s list of liberal initiatives has been pre-spent on the bailout, and that the turgid and threatening international situation allows very little room for any rational commander in chief to make sudden dramatic moves.

And a president McCain will be constrained in addition by a thoroughly democratic house and Senate.

But the change in tone, style and spirit, in each case will amount to a breath of fresh air. The stifling, circle-the-wagons atmosphere in the latter Bush presidency is soon to pass into history, along with the rude “W” caricatures so emblematically displayed in Oliver Stone’s latest box office failure.

If Obama loses (about a 15% chance outcome at his moment, it seems to me), the left will need therapy – big time therapy.

[In my post, Therapist in Chief – , I have opined that the Obama phenomenon has been driven in large part by the prevalent therapeutic culture.]

As a starting point in that exercise, check out Bill Krystal’s whimsical Op Ed in today’s New York Times, “Hey Liberals, don’t worry”.

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It is a must read.

As to conservative therapy? Krystal ends his piece with this charming image:

“If McCain wins, think of this column as a modest contribution to cheering up distraught liberals. If Obama prevails, I’m confident there are some compassionate liberals out there who will do the same for hapless conservatives as they hobble out to the wilderness.”

In fact, what is needed is a 12 step recovery program from our toxic partisan excess, corruption and in-the-bubble isolation from each other.

Like all perfect storms, this, too, will pass. If the current episode is to prove constructive in the long term, both political parties must realign themselves closer to productive center, where both sides are in a respectful mutual dialogue.

This is a line of development I have been calling the coming “populist reformation”. [See .]

So I invite all my conservative, libertarian and liberal friends to a post-partisan twelve step recovery program.

Imagine us all sitting in a circle. “My name is [your name goes here] and I am a feckless ideologue.” And imagine a chorus of friendly voices, red-state, blue-state, panic-state voices in reply: “Welcome to club-America!”


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