Barack Obama came into the White House in a cloud of glory and optimism.
He defined the problems that the nation faced in his first inaugural address. First, the nation was at war with a network of violence and hatred. Second, our economy was badly weakened. Homes were lost, and businesses shuttered. Health care was too expensive. Schools failed their students. And finally, “less measurable, but no less profound, is a sapping of confidence across our land; a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable.” Obama promised that he and the country would meet these challenges head on.
Eight years later, as Obama prepares to depart the White House, he leaves the nation in a cloud of disappointment, recrimination, and even paranoia. None of the wars Obama inherited are truly over, and he has started or joined America to several more. If anything, the sense of America’s decline is even more palpable than before.