Bob Herbert has a decent column in the Times (registration required) that throws more than a bucket of cold water on the campaign-trail optimists:
There was no shortage of pretty words and promises at the Democratic National Convention in Boston last week. But there’s a big difference between the rigidly crafted reality at the heart of a political campaign and the reality of the rest of the world.
“Practical politics,” said Henry Adams, “consists in ignoring facts.”
The facts facing the United States as George W. Bush and John Kerry joust for the presidency are too grim to be honestly discussed on the stump. No one wants to tell cheering potential voters that the nation has sunk so deep into a hole that it will take decades to extricate it.
I think his basic thesis about how fundamental our problems are. The question he poses, without trying to provide an answer, is whether voters are up to hearing the truth.