On November 2nd, a majority of American voters repudiated the ambition of President Barack Obama, and of the congressional Democrats whom he leads, to transform the American political system by enacting a sweeping progressive agenda.
No doubt a variety of factors were in play. During campaign 2008, and despite just four years of experience in the legislative branch of the federal government (two of which he devoted to campaigning for president) and no experience holding executive office, Senator Obama inflated hopes to levels no mortal could satisfy and evoked changes of proportions that even a master statesman could not achieve. Moreover, President Obama began his term in hard times: His fledgling administration confronted a global economic crisis that endangered the very operation of the American financial system; two wars halfway around the globe; and an unabated threat to the homeland from transnational Islamic terrorism. By the time the 2010 midterm elections rolled around nearly double-digit unemployment had persisted for more than fifteen months, inflicting pain not only on workers but also on their families, friends, and communities. The ramifying effects of joblessness contributed to a generally sour attitude toward the president and his programs as well as toward Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and soon-to-be former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.