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Conquest writes, "It might be argued that real knowledge of, even affection for, continental Europe makes one reject a light-minded and premature political unity.
Politicians as light-minded as our own drifted like corks on the surface of events, doing their best to pretend that nothing had changed, that Cotton was still king and slavery the will of Heaven; but everywhere in the country the inventors to whom Twain referred as "the creators of this world--after God" were busy tinkering with the roots of things, rearranging the lines of communication and the distribution of the nation's wealth.
Only those who know nothing of the man could put him alongside such light-minded nonsense.
Edith Wharton was speaking of the light-minded company seated on the velvet sofas of America's Gilded Age, but the remark sums up the news from the nation's capital since President Clinton lost, at least for the time being and until the referees in Congress have had time to review the game films, last summer's deciding round of hide-and-go-seek.