Fill in the Blanks
By BILL KELLER
Published: September 18, 2011
Just a few winters ago my wife and I took our daughters to witness the inauguration of a man who had campaigned on hope and embodied possibility. We are pretty immune to political euphoria, but, circulating among the footsore pilgrims, we could imagine our country had embraced the idea that we were all in this together. When the newly sworn-in president congratulated us all on choosing unity of purpose over recriminations and worn-out dogmas, we wanted to believe that we had done exactly that.
Inaugurations, of course, are ceremonial ephemera. After the “Ask not” comes the Bay of Pigs. After the 60-plus approval rating comes the 9-plus unemployment rate. But it is worth pondering how we got from that day to this partisan clamor, how we lost that sense of common cause, and how it became a consensus of the commentariat that Barack Obama is in serious danger of being a one-term president.
The decline in Obama’s political fortunes, the Great Disappointment, can be attributed to four main factors: the intractable legacy bequeathed by George W. Bush; Republican resistance amounting to sabotage; the unrealistic expectations and inevitable disenchantment of some of the president’s supporters; and, to be sure, the man himself.
Read the full story here: The New York Times