Holiday Cheer: Is It Mere Mindlessness?

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Now is the winter of our discontent. Isn’t it? American government is torn into two evils, each claiming only to be the lesser. America’s enemies twirl their mustaches devilishly before -- and after -- the Pentagon bombs them back into 1991. And all the while the “nation’s business” -- Social Security, education reform, the environment -- languishes undone as the Senate mulls whether to obey the majority of America or its most conservative and passionate slice.

But for most Americans, all the carnal carnage in Washington is just another bad TV show, and Saddam just another cartoon villain. None of it raises the price of beer, as they say -- and gasoline is cheaper than Evian. Who needs Social Security when the Dow is headed for 10,000 and you bought at 12? Maybe Americans can live on their pocketbooks forever, exchanging iMacs and SUVs around the Christmas tree while the statesman slips quietly into extinction. They’re certainly going to try. Still, it makes for a chilly winter when the Beltway can’t keep its pants up.