I was just in the car listening to Romney's speech in New Hampshire - figuring it highly likely that he'll be the nominee - and I realized that IMO at least there's reason to be optimistic politically. I know lots of you may not agree with me, but hey - it's my blog.
I realized that as I see things, if Romney gets the nomination we will have had three presidential slates in a row that successively improve each time. Bush-Kerry was awful on the Republican side and pretty disappointing on the Democratic side. Obama-McCain was only marginally better on the Republican side (unless, God forbid, McCain died and it would have been considerably worse) and quite good on the Democratic side. And now it looks like we're going to have a good Democrat and a Republican that I could actually end up liking (particularly if a recovery takes hold). You never get a perfect choice, but this isn't bad. If the economy really starts picking up by November and we look like we'll need a post-depression president I might even have to read up a little on Romney and consider him more seriously! The point is - things aren't always as atrocious as the punditry like to suggest.
Granted, the Congress has been erratic over that period and who knows where that'll go. But it could be a lot worse.
OK, now Gene can chime in and tell me that we're barrelling into war with Iran and the rest of you can try to deny the obvious fact that a Paul administration would be horrendously bad for the country. But for the next five minutes I'll keep enjoying my "eh - this could be a lot worse" mood.
UPDATE: I focused on Romney here because I think it's pretty clear he's going to get the nomination at this point. At least he's the best bet for it. This is not to say Romney is the best of the Republican field, although he is near the top for me. I agree with Ryan Murphy that Huntsman offers the best Republican option for me (I'm not sure if Ryan is agreeing on that), if we were dealing with that question. My point here is just that Obama = Obama > Kerry, and Romney > McCain > Bush. By convexity and transitivity, that means 2012 > 2008 > 2004.