According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the U.S. economy is expected to grow at a rate of about 2.5 percent this year while the eurozone will be virtually flat; and unemployment in America will run (as it typically does) 2 to 3 points below Europe. The harsh limits on government spending imposed by EU rules and bond investors was, of course, precisely the policy which Mitt Romney was urging on American voters. The numbers show how wrong he was.
Given the deep sense of disappointment over what Barack Obama could have been and was not, we need to remind ourselves how profoundly adverse was the situation which he inherited -- economically and politically -- and how much progress his administration has made in stabilizing the situation. And because that is true, Obama now has the chance, as other Western leaders do not, to pursue the goals he laid out when he first ran for office. As the economy continues to improve, and the effects of health-care reform begin to be felt, it's even possible that, as Obama has put it, "the fever will break," and he will enjoy the kind of broad public support which will make it difficult for Republicans in Congress to continue to obstruct him at every turn, as of course they will seek to do. The announcement of the death of hope and change may turn out to be premature.