[Ed. – It’s virtually impossible for Chris Cillizza to accept Obama’s failures.]
Being president is the most powerful job in the world. At which you will almost certainly fail.
Why? For lots of reasons up to and including:
* The decline of the bully pulpit as a persuasion mechanism
* The deep partisanship present not only in Congress but also in the electorate more broadly
* The splintering of the mainstream media/the rise of social media.
Consider the last three presidents — two Democrats, one Republican — who have had to deal with those three factors in varying degrees. (Can you imagine what Bill Clinton’s presidency would have been like if Twitter existed?) As Ron Brownstein writes in a terrific National Journal piece headlined “Half of America”:
In one key respect, each president’s tenure has followed a similar arc. Each initially sought the White House promising to bridge the nation’s widening partisan divide. Clinton pledged to transcend “brain-dead policies in both parties” with his “New Democrat” agenda. Bush declared himself a “compassionate conservative” who would govern as “a uniter, not a divider.” Obama emerged with his stirring 2004 Democratic convention speech, evoking the shared aspirations of red and blue America, and took office embodying convergence and reconciliation.