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Michael Goodwin | Startling puzzle of O’s second chance

His first four years were mostly a bust, he offered no promises or agenda for the second four—and Barack Obama won anyway.

Go figure. I’ll always be proud of my country, but Obama’s victory defies political logic and economic reality. It was a stunning personal triumph for a president who was ripe for a downfall.

Now comes the hard part. The presidency is a singular institution in our democracy, and Obama too often showed himself unable to bear its unique burdens in the last four years.

He set a partisan tone right out of the gate when, in a showdown over the stimulus, he rejected Republican ideas and declared, “I won.” It was a moment of chest-thumping bravado that helped poison the well.


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