The Right Time—By Kevin Baker (Harper's Magazine):
The real tragedy of this election is that this is not something that President Obama can do. (Mr. Romney and his party have grown so impervious to reality that it is no longer possible to expect even self-preservation from them, much less honor.)
Mr. Obama came into office at a time of rare political opportunity, leading a mass movement of devoted followers. He chose to ignore the moment, and defuse the movement, preferring to impose a sort of perestroika on the way we live now, a restructuring of a system that is rotten to the core.
He let that moment, and his following, and his greater dreams, and his congressional majorities all slip away, so that now he really has nothing to say, save for vaguely noble declarations about the need to help the middle class and balance the budget, and small-bore, Clintonian prescriptions for increasing the number of community colleges and cutting Pell grant fees. It’s all perfectly fine, and it’s an infinitely more humane and realistic approach to government than the ridiculous fantasies of his opponent. But it’s not a vision, and it will not suffice.