As somebody who voted for President Barack Obama, I am surprised to find myself believing that he is slated to be -- and more so, should be -- a one-term president, a possibility that Obama himself has already broached publicly. It's not any one thing he has or hasn't done that has led me to this admittedly premature conclusion. Rather, it's a growing realization that everything Obama brings to the table in terms of both deeds and vision suggests that history will judge him to be a transitional figure. He is a much-needed leveling-off from Bush-Cheney's nosebleed-inducing foreign policy trajectory, no doubt. But he is not "the One," in whom so much hope was invested for the revitalization of this clearly disoriented superpower.
That plan posited a liberal Ronald Reagan -- a true game-changer. The reality has instead yielded a more bureaucratically adept version of Jimmy Carter -- less off-putting, but still alienating. Despite his obvious eloquence and intelligence, Barack Obama has inspired too little hope and far too much fear among the American people, for a number of reasons. His policies, both foreign and domestic, add up to the leadership equivalent of Valium -- reducing angst on the surface while doing nothing to address the deeper underlying dynamics.
Again, that's not a bad rebound from George W. Bush's Nixon-like, confrontation-filled presidency, and it certainly beats what John McCain would have managed in Obama's place. But recovery isn't enough at this historical juncture. Americans crave an inspirational realignment, one that convinces both themselves and the world that America isn't merely avoiding drowning right now, but has once again started swimming.