Defending Obama with a Failure of Imagination

By: Monday August 22, 2011 4:15 pm

I’ve found one of the saddest yet most common defenses of President Obama’s handling of his job to be the weird argument that it simply wasn’t possible for him to do a better job, or to do anything different from what he did. It always reminds me of the mantra of the misguided extreme optimist Dr. Pangloss in Candide, “all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.”

Ezra Klein is up with another post defending Obama with this same basic argument.


The Best of All Possible Worlds: Beltway Journos Use Sham Logic to Obscure Political Pain of Health Reform

By: Sunday October 31, 2010 4:00 pm

In the last few days, several bloggers – among them Jon Cohn and Ezra Klein — have written faulty defenses of the health care bill. They used theoretical, counterfactual alternatives in defense of the health care legislation they’ve supported, calling to mind Voltaire’s classic, Candide. In it, Voltaire heavily mocks the extreme optimism of Pangloss, who concludes all is good no matter how terrible things are because we live in “the best of all possible worlds.”

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