In the first year of his second term, the president has failed on virtually every front. He put his prestige on the line to pass federal gun-control legislation–and lost. He made climate change a central part of his inaugural address–and nothing has happened. The president went head-to-head with Republicans on sequestration–and he failed. He’s been forced to delay implementation of the employer mandate, a key feature of the Affordable Care Act. ObamaCare is more unpopular than ever, and it’s turning out to be a “train wreck” (to quote Democratic Senator Max Baucus) in practice. The most recent jobs report was the worst in a year, with the Obama recovery already qualifying as a historically weak one. Immigration reform is going nowhere. And then there’s Syria, which has turned out to be an epic disaster. (To be sure, Mr. Obama’s Middle East failures go well beyond Syria–but Syria is the most conspicuous failure right now).
In watching the Obama presidency dissolve before our eyes, there is a cautionary tale to be told. Every presidency falls short of the expectations that the candidate sets. But no man has ever promised more and delivered less than the current occupant of the Oval Office.