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This is what I meant by nostalgia as a species of laziness:


At a New York political event last week, Republican and Democratic office-holders were all bemoaning President Obama's handling of the debt-ceiling crisis when someone said, "Hillary would have been a better president." 

"Every single person nodded, including the Republicans," reported one observer. 

At a luncheon in the members' dining room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Saturday, a 64-year-old African-American from the Bronx was complaining about Obama's ineffectiveness in dealing with the implacable hostility of congressional Republicans when an 80-year-old lawyer chimed in about the president's unwillingness to stand up to his opponents. 

"I want to see blood on the floor," she said grimly. A 61-year-old white woman at the table nodded. "He never understood about the 'vast right-wing conspiracy,'" she said. 

Looking as if she were about to cry, an 83-year-old Obama supporter shook her head. "I'm so disappointed in him," she said. "It's true: Hillary is tougher."

She is "tougher." A nebulous existence in the fever dreams of frustrated liberals tends to do that to you. Everybody's "tougher" before they're in the actual knife fight. I could just as easily see an alternative fever dream--one launched by President Hillary Clinton political failings, which she surely would have had, in which another camp of liberals look fondly back on how the Obama of hope and change would have altered the political calculus via magic.

The handsome gentleman at the office with whom you share no bathrooms is also "sexier" than your husband. We're all sexy to someone until the years find us explaining how, precisely, we allowed Junior to have Oreos  and potato chips for dinner. 
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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