With campaign season more robust than expected, you'd think that unabashedly liberal Barack Obama and apologetically liberal Hilary Rodham Clinton would accept what the American electorate has always rewarded: embracing one's convictions without snivelling. To his credit, Obama's rarely shirked the responsibilities inherent in those convictions, but the constant stretching for the political center is really tiresome, especially when, "compassionate conservatism" nomenclature aside, George W. Bush won two elections by not diluting the big business protectionism and federal messianism platforms on which he'd run.
David Mamet's jittery, weird essay on his conversion to potbellied conservatism is yet another example of how good writers are clueless when it comes to parsing the subtle involutions of their third-rate political education. For American theatre's most marketable stylist of the latter half of the twentieth century to elevate as an an insight bilge like "As a child of the '60s, I accepted as an article of faith that government is corrupt, that business is exploitative, and that people are generally good at heart" makes me question whether he's listened to Ricky Roma ("You stupid fucking cunt. Who ever told you could work with men?). That Eric Alterman is riding to our rescue inspires shudders of anticipation.