When a baby takes a sudden, severe hurt, such as getting her hand snapped in a mousetrap, there is a several second delay before she starts to cry. This brief period of time is required for her to get over the surprise, absorb what happened to her, realize, “Hey, I’m screwed,” start to feel the hurt, and then take a breath to ramp up the wail.
In the case of the American public, taking the example of the invasion of Iraq, we find that that absorption period is somewhat longer, approximately three years:
A new poll of likely voters finds that President Bush and his party no longer have the advantage on issues of foreign policy and national security, which they used to dominate.
Of course, the child then becomes inconsolable; we’ll see what happens to America.