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Sunday, April 30, 2017

To the extent that he ever believed much, if any, of his own soaring rhetoric about a transformative, post-partisan presidency during the 2008 campaign, President Obama would have to be judged a failure. Even after the election, his Inaugural Address called for “an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.”

Was it really possible, I wondered, that Obama had mistaken the U.S. government for the Harvard Law Review, where the emollient balm of his personality persuaded rival factions to reason together? Did he actually believe that the political battles of the Clinton and Bush years could be laughed off as “the psychodrama of the Baby Boom generation,” easily transcended by an Ivy League raisonneur like him?

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