Hope is great when you’re preaching to the faithful, but when you get out there amongst the real America you had better portray yourself as a far different kind of candidate. We could choose to believe that Americans have their better angels and that they can be appealed to take a chance on an honest and articulate person who has demonstrated a commitment to the less fortunate and the less-privileged; who has demonstrated a political acumen that has embarrassed and befuddled his opponent in the past few months; who represents a new generation and a decisive break from what almost everyone agrees has been a disastrous eight years; and that such a person has a good chance of defeating a corrupt, doddering con-man. I can see how this would be too audacious to hope for. Besides, Americans would be confused at the prospect of not having to hold their noses when they go to the polls. There is a winning formula in politics: raise expectations during the primaries, then lower them during the election, then do whatever the hell you want after you’re elected.