After everything these last few weeks… hell, after everything these last two-and-a-half years, Michael Tomasky has finally figured out what President Obama’s problem is: He’s too good for us.
Obama believes in civic virtue, and in the idea that in a democracy it’s the duty of responsible leaders to reason together on behalf of something they all agree to call the common good. The fancy name for this theory of government in political-philosophy circles is civic republicanism: the “civic” part refers to action taken in the public sphere, while “republican” (a small-r republican and a big-R Republican are very different animals) signals a concern with tyrannical majorities and a faith that reasoned debate will produce a balanced result.
You might be laughing already, but the concept has played a crucially important role in American history.
I’m not laughing. I’m crying.