Why Obama Failed

POLITICS & POLICY
Then-President Obama listens as he participates in his last news conference of the year in Washington, D.C., December 16, 2016.
(Carlos Barria/Reuters)
In a revealing interview, Obama tried to burnish his image for progressive posterity — but he still doesn’t understand his fundamental errors.




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B
arack Obama rose to political stardom in the wake of his 2004 convention speech, during which he made an implicit promise that he could transcend party divisions in Washington, bridge the gap between Republicans and Democrats, and make the federal government functional again. I’ll confess that I really thought he wanted to do this when he ascended to the presidency. It took the first volume of his memoirs and a recent interview he gave to Ezra Klein of the New York Times to fully and finally disabuse me of that notion.

During his 2008 campaign, Obama seemed to display a certain …

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