I was upset when George W. Bush was elected in 2000, but not as upset as I should have been. I assumed he would be a typical Republican president: against abortion unless someone he knew needed one, otherwise inattentive to human suffering except for the financial anxieties of rich people, whose pain he would assuage with tax cuts. Mostly I expected lots of golf. And I was right—until 9/11. Then, regrettably, Bush left the putting green and started having ideas. If your memory is cruel enough to be sharp, you will recall his long list of calamities.

So, in 2004, I thought, “No sane country will ever re-elect this person.” Alas, the fatal adjective: “sane.” Bush was re-elected, and I fell into what John Bunyan, and hardly anyone else, calls a “slough of despond.” I am normally a buoyant person, yet I trudged to work in twice the time it usually took me. I couldn’t sit up straight at my desk. I had to do something.