And inevitable ennui. So profound was that tranquility, so trivial the history of that time, that George Will and I would muse that if this kept up -- an era whose dominant issue was a president's zipper problem -- he might as well go back to the academy and I to psychiatry.
Of course, it didn't keep up. It never does. History is tragic, not redemptive. Our holiday from history ended in fire, giving birth to a post-9/11 decade of turbulence and disorientation as we were faced with the unexpected resurgence of radical eschatological evil.
Which brings us to the age of Obama, perhaps -- mirabile dictu -- the most exhilarating time of all. There is nothing as bracing for democracy as the alternation of power, particularly when it yields as serious, determined and challenging an ideological agenda as Barack Obama's. This third wave of transformative liberalism -- FDR, then LBJ, now Obama -- is no time for triangulation. This is not incrementalism. We're not debating school uniforms. When Obama once declared Ronald Reagan historically consequential and Bill Clinton not, he meant it. Obama intends to be the Reagan of the new liberalism.
It's no secret that I oppose nearly everything Obama has proposed. But after the enervating '90s and the tragic 2000s, the prospect of combative and clarifying 2010s, of sharply defined and radically opposed visions, is both politically and intellectually invigorating.
For which I'm tanned, rested and ready. And grateful. To be doing every day what you enjoy doing is rare. Rarer still is to be doing what you were meant to do, particularly if you got there by sheer serendipity. Until near 30, I'd fully expected to spend my life as a doctor. My present life was never planned or even imagined. An intern at The New Republic once asked me how to become a nationally syndicated columnist. "Well," I replied, "first you go to medical school. ..."
Charles Krauthammer is a 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner, 1984 National Magazine Award winner, and a columnist for The Washington Post since 1985.
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