One year into his presidency, Barack Obama has come to a defining moment. He needs to reset, and Wednesday’s state of the union address is the place to begin.
Scott Brown’s election in Massachusetts was an astonishing rebuke. It is difficult, still, to take in: one of the most liberal states in the union sent a conservative Republican to succeed Edward Kennedy in the Senate. A few weeks before, this was scarcely imaginable, even allowing for the Democratic candidate’s impressive incompetence.
For Mr Obama to carry on as though nothing had happened would be a gross mistake. But overreacting would be as bad. Going populist in a way that is false to his character would be one such error. Abandoning his ambitions for his presidency, occupying the office with no purpose except to keep it, would be another.
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