Michael Tomasky isn’t sure:
There’s no doubt that he did envision himself as transformational…. He also believed, I think really genuinely believed, that he was and could be a post-partisan figure. He thought this because he wasn’t a product of the ’60s, and he said so explicitly on occasion, noting at one point in 2008 that we didn’t need to “relitigate the ’60s” anymore.
Well, maybe he didn’t. But someone did. Conservatives did, because they believe that’s when it all went sour, and for them, it’s good for business besides. I doubt Obama had ever been hated by anybody in his life. Now, 40 or so million Americans hate him. Must be stunning to him, still.
Byron York reads Obama’s deflated spirit as the consequence of his restlessness:
A look at the president’s career shows he has never stayed in a job four years without looking to move on to something better…. Now Obama has been president for nearly four years. Aided by a huge Democratic majority from 2009 to 2011, he achieved some big things — massive stimulus, Obamacare, Dodd-Frank. He even won the Nobel Peace Prize, essentially for showing up.
But he hasn’t achieved, and won’t achieve in four more years, the “fundamental transformation” of American society that he envisioned. And his entire career suggests that by now he should be angling for a bigger, better job.
Andrew Sullivan believes that having this discussion at all reflects the enormity of Obama’s implosion.
This race is now Romney’s to lose. Not just because Romney is shameless liar and opportunist. But because Obama just essentially forfeited the election. In the first match-up between the two candidates, one was a potential president; the other a dithering wonk. I’m still reeling. I’m sorry if these are not things an Obama supporter should say at this point. But the demoralization is profound.