Here he goes again: Barack Obama is jacking up
expectations to virtually unreachable heights.
Four years ago, the president overpromised and underperformed in his quixotic bid to change Washington's corrosive culture. The result was a first term that, despite considerable achievement, not only failed to restore the public’s faith in government, but actually increased voter skepticism. Obama’s only route to reelection was a cynical, negative campaign that belied his hope-and-change image.
He could have emerged from the decisive victory determined to double down on his brand – to work harder to change Washington: Reach out more aggressively to rivals; look more creatively for “win-win” compromises; fight more fiercely for institutional reforms; summon Americans more regularly to sacrifice for the common good; and use his personal appeal and political machine to marginalize extremists in both parties.
Instead, judging by his Inaugural Address and postelection statements, Obama seems to be taking a route that might seem easier, and certainly must feel better, but is a sad capitulation to the times. It is as if Obama threw up his hands in (understandable) disgust with his polarizing rivals and declared, “If I can’t beat ‘em, I’ll join ‘em.”