[Ed. – That’s what is so frightening.]
On Sept. 18, 1986, more than two years before the end of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, the columnist George F. Will, one of Reagan’s earliest and strongest supporters, pronounced the Reagan administration dead. “When an administration collapses, quickly and completely,” Mr. Will wrote, “a reasonable surmise is that the administration, like a balloon, had nothing in it but air.”
Mr. Will was venting about a controversy now long forgotten — Reagan had worked out a complex swap that allowed an American correspondent detained by the Soviets to come home. But his column was merely the start of a barrage of conservative attacks on Reagan in his final years in the White House, and a concurrent series of articles proclaiming the Reagan administration to be essentially over.
President Obama confronts a similar situation this fall, at the same stage of his own presidency. Amid broad dissatisfaction, many commentators have declared his administration a spent force. (“He seems to have taken something like an early retirement,” Ed Rogers wrote for The Washington Post, describing the “post-Obama presidency.”)
Most of these end-of-Obama sentiments are sincerely felt, and there are plenty of Obama-specific reasons for making these judgments.