Thirty million new jobs have been created since 2009, over half of them in the manufacturing sector, the remaining positions divided among high-tech, international and a variety of service start-ups. Average family income has reached a peak for the twenty-first century, close to $50,000. The mortgage and real-estate crisis of the late 2000s is a distant memory. More Americans, as a real number and as a percentage of the overall population, own their own homes than at any other time in U. S. history. Interest rates hover between 4.5 and 5.0 percent.
America's standing in the world has never been higher. Our relationship with our European allies has given way to an expanded version of NATO that now includes countries reaching across the Mediterranean and deep into the former Soviet republics. President Obama has been mentioned for the Nobel Peace Prize short list after the detente he has established with the new, moderate Iranian leader, with Hezbollah forces in Lebanon, and with the post-revolutionary parliament of North Korea. Those who argue against a Peace Prize for Obama cite his crushing defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan and his 2012 capture of a frail Osama bin Laden, not in a frontier cave but in a dingy hotel room in Peshawar.
Vice-President Biden has just announced that he will not campaign for the presidency in the upcoming election and has hinted that he may throw his support behind former Virginia governor Mark Warner. Michelle Obama has been mentioned as a potential running-mate for Warner, or for Hillary Clinton, Warner's leading opponent in this year's hotly contested series of primaries. Ms. Obama's political prospects surged after she a truth and reconciliation commission that produced remarkable results at the end of the Iraqi occupation. The Boston Red Sox have just won their third World Series in a row. --A.N.