Jeff Shesol in The New Yorker:
This is where we stand right now with President Obama. There are two years left in his tenure, but we are already in the process of writing him off. The Atlantic is calling him “our passé President”; at a rally in Maryland on Sunday, while Obama delivered a campaign speech, dozens of people drifted out of the auditorium. Yet he is still, of course, our President, and we still, on some level, expect heroics. Deep down, we don’t want Obama to appoint an “Ebola czar.” We want him to march into the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, set some new protocols, and put this unpleasant business behind us. Instead, to quell our Ebola freak-out, Obama “hugged and kissed … a couple of the nurses” at a hospital in Atlanta, which, really, is an assignment Joe Biden could have taken.
The problem isn’t Barack Obama, or his performance in office, or even where the country stands today. The problem is in the expectations — the expectation that government can cure our ills, the expectation that the Right Great Man can make the giant government do all the things we have come to expect it to do.
There is of course room for good government and even the occasional great man to head it up. But a government as large and as intrusive as ours will find it nearly impossible to be great, or even merely good, when its mission is to force its once-sovereign citizens to fit other people’s notion of “good.”