Perhaps Barack Obama’s biggest failure as President was (as I have argued before) the same as George H.W. Bush’s: he misread his mandate. The incumbent accelerated his fall from grace by so quickly reversing course on so many of the campaign promises he made which helped secure his support among moderate voters.
And there’s something else.
He assumed that by the combination of his personality and the crisis of the times, he could shift the national mood in the direction of his long-held far left beliefs.
Pointing out that Obama won because he won independents by a margin 12 points larger than that John Kerry enjoyed in 2004, Steve Chapman writes that in the election last fall (as in 1952) while Americans “weren’t inviting a radical turnabout — just some modest improvements in the status quo,”
. . . the 44th president apparently thought he had a mandate for the expansion of federal power and responsibility, which he has used on everything from bailing out automakers to showering the economy with stimulus dollars to trying to overhaul health insurance. He and his allies have therefore been surprised to face a surge of angry opposition, including some based on wild flights of paranoia.
What they forgot is that the surest way to mobilize American political opposition, irrational as well as rational, is to enlarge the government’s role in our lives.
(H/t: Jennifer Rubin.)
And poll after poll after poll after poll shows that more Americans prefer private sector solutions to public ones. Despite the president’s evident charm and presence, he has not been able to cause them to change their minds. Indeed, if anything, he has helped intensify the level of opposition to government solutions, reinforcing our commitment to freedom.