Will this be the last Christmas of the big-spending era? Will stalwart shoppers, who still can’t see this recession, grab big-ticket items, “sliding the platinum card along the counter with a ‘We who are about to die salute you’ flair”? Or will everyone hunker down for a new, more frugal age? Peggy Noonan is betting on the latter, she writes in the Wall Street Journal. The national mood has shifted.
“The new mood seems to involve a new modesty, and something a little more humane.” Oprah cancels her “favorite things” show. Bill Gates espouses community activism. Auto CEOs are lambasted for flying private jets. There’s “a new, or renewed sense of national shame,” Noonan writes. “A sense of reckoning.” Selfish—think Rod Blagojevich—is out. Communal action—think Obama’s public works plan—is in. “Rectitude chic, coming to a statehouse near you.”