Many of our friends who saw genius in the crease of Barack Obama's trousers four years ago lament that he might be cruising to re-election had he only focused first on the economy and postponed his liberal social priorities. This may be true, but it also misjudges the man and his Presidency.Man, that's such a penetrating analysis it's almost depressing, and I mean from Obama's point of view. The poor guy. What a horrible existence and what a disastrous legacy. Government for government's sake, going against all that's great about this country. Tearing down personal liberty in the name of morally bankrupt statism. But that's what Democrats are about, and that's why Obama's doing as well as he is. A large chunk of Americans, roughly half if the polls are to be believed, have lost the initiative and moral bearing that built up this nation as the leader of the free world. From ObamaCare to the Middle East, this president has lied and bungled his way through a disgraceful interregnum. If he's reelected it will take that much longer to dismantle the apparatus of mindless bureaucracy, and not to mention the ideology of hate and recrimination.
Mr. Obama has governed from the left not because he miscalculated his priorities but because these are his priorities. His first term is best understood as a race to put himself in the pantheon of the great progressive Presidents—Wilson, FDR, LBJ—who expanded the state's control over the private economy and over the wants and needs of the American middle class.
The price of this governing choice includes a weak recovery, achievements like ObamaCare that are unpopular, the loss of the House in 2010, and a polarized electorate. Unable to run on his record, he has conducted a low-down re-election campaign based on destroying his opponent's character. If the polls are right, even if he wins re-election, he will do so as the first President since Wilson to win with a smaller margin than he did the first time.
But for Mr. Obama, this won't matter. His great progressive gamble will have paid off. His second term will be about preserving the government gains of his first term, especially ObamaCare, and using regulation to press government control wherever else he can.
The good news is that Romney's got momentum and he just may get over the finish line the victor. A bit of a prayer might help him, goodness be to God.