We've seen the change.
Where's the hope?
After yet another vacation, and plenty of time off to soul search and hone his stump speeches, Barack Obama has come forth in recent days only to deliver more bitter, divisive attacks on Republicans. He insists we have a domestic enemy, and reminds us of it on an almost daily basis.
That's absolutely his right. But Mr. Obama's negativity and hyper-partisanship not only fly in the face of the facts -- for most of the past year and a half, Republicans simply haven't had the numbers in Congress to block much of the president's agenda, and now even Democrats are increasingly against it -- but it also runs wholly counter to his campaign persona.
He sold us on hope and optimism and post-partisanship and post-racialism and a new tone in Washington. What he's given us is the most partisan, bitter, whining presidency of our lifetimes.
"They talk about me like a dog," he said of his enemies the other day.
"The comment makes him look ridiculous," writes Daily Telegraph of London columnist Toby Harnden.
Not only because it's so beneath a president to say such a thing, but because it's patently ridiculous. Barack Obama was carried into office by adoring media like a conquering monarch, and was treated as such until his own ideological rigidity left the country and his administration in a shambles. He's got no one but himself to blame.
Not that that will stop him from trying to blame others. Straight from the despot's desktop calendar comes his daily finger-pointing at enemies and his contrived claims of victimhood.
Adversity tends to reveal character. And it's now clear that Mr. Obama's mettle is nowhere near the image portrayed in the campaign. Gone is the hopeful, uniting and inviting Obama. Today, he appears feckless, combative and whiny.
Then again, what in his work experience would have indicated otherwise? Neither he nor most of his advisers have ever run anything save for bareknuckled political campaigns. He had no executive experience from which to draw on in testing times. So he resorts -- perhaps instinctively, perhaps strategically -- to the tyrant's playbook: try to keep the people off-balance by constantly pointing out enemies in their midst.
He's hardly been treated like a dog. The truth, rather, is that criticism of Obama in his first year was muted: His opponents were restrained out of fear of being perceived as being too hard on the nation's first black president.
Now, everyone but the far left has left race behind; he is, simply, a president whose administration is crumbling from the considerable weight of its inexperience combined with its heavy-handed belief in the power of government to be all things to all people.
So instead of hope, we get class warfare and enemies of the people.
Not quite what the country was sold.