Rick Brookhiser thinks he can fool us. He quotes a bit from Book XI of The Prelude so that American conservatives might better understand how their liberal counterparts feel tonight. Here's some of the Wordsworth he cherry-picked:
O pleasant exercise of hope and joy!
For mighty were the auxiliars which then stood
Upon our side, us who were strong in love!
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very Heaven! O times,
In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways
Of custom, law, and statute, took at once
The attraction of a country in romance!
Superficial readers of Great Books make this sort of mistake all the time. They half-remember some passage from their undergraduate Brit Lit survey and feel wicked clever. They think: "'The attraction of a country in romance'? Sounds like Obama. The world must know that I once read a Lake Poet. To the internet!" Then they post a passage from The Prelude in which Wordsworth mocks his younger self for the optimism he felt during the first days of the French Revolution. So what does Brookhiser think it's like to be a liberal in America today?
It's like being an old goat who's spent decades rewriting an epic poem about his intellectual development while he's deriding the only moment in his entire life in which he allowed optimism to enter his black heart. For a second I thought he might've claimed this on purpose, so that when liberals are fed up with an inadequately leftist Obama he can link to that post and say, "I told you! You didn't realize it at the time, you uneducated twunts, but I told you!" Then he'll insert the ellipsed bits:
In the main outline, such it might be said
Was my condition, till with open war
Britain opposed the liberties of France.
This threw me first out of the pale of love;
Soured and corrupted, upwards to the source,
My sentiments; was not, as hitherto,
A swallowing up of lesser things in great,
But change of them into their contraries;
And thus a way was opened for mistakes
And false conclusions, in degree as gross,
In kind more dangerous. What had been a pride,
Was now a shame . . .
He'll claim: "I told them they would be disappointed in someone new! Did they listen? Of course not!" Once our "events brought less encouragement" and were "[w]orn out in greatness, stripped of novelty," Brookhiser'll pop from the bushes and shock us with his erudite ellision and we'll be forced to admit we'd been punked by a Joe Sixpack who happened to graduate from Yale.
Then I remembered the sort of mind I was dealing with and drew a bath.