Frank Rich is at it again.
This relatively unified America can’t be compared with that of the second Nixon term, when the violent cultural and political upheavals of the late 1960s were still fresh. But in at least one way there may be a precise political parallel in the aftermaths of two failed presidencies rent by catastrophic wars: Americans are exhausted by anger itself and are praying for the mood pendulum to swing.
Gerald Ford implicitly captured that sentiment when he described himself as a healer; his elected successor, Jimmy Carter, was (to a fault, as it turned out) a seeming paragon of serenity. We can see this equation at work now in Mitt Romney’s unflappable game-show-host persona, in John McCain’s unconvincing efforts to emulate a Reagan grin and in the unlikely spectacle of Rudy Giuliani trading in his congenital scowl for a sunny disposition. Hillary Clinton’s camp is doing everything it can to deflect new books reminding voters of the vicious Washington warfare during her husband’s presidency. Then again, even Michael Moore is rolling out a kinder, gentler persona in his media blitz for his first film since “Fahrenheit 9/11.”
Ah, that’s why Romney seems so familiar! That, plus his wealth and complete inanity.