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For optimists like me, the financial crash has made for an especially depressing few weeks. With even the most drearily pessimistic speculations being swiftly outflanked by still more disastrous reality, looking on the bright side has been only for the foolish or complacent. But Barack Obama’s victory is some kind of silver lining—and, as Michael Lind’s essay points out, it might not have happened without the crash. Any residual anxiety about Obama’s complexion got washed away by his coolness under pressure (compared with a flapping McCain). The elevation of gut instinct over reason that has often marked the Bush years—symbolised…

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