I’ll second Andrew Sullivan on last night’s debate:
As someone who thinks Obama is still the best bet for real change in this election, I kept feeling underwhelmed by his performance. You wait for him to go in for the kill ... and ... he ... never ... quite gets there. He seems to be possessed of an almost pathological high-mindedness, and an inability to encapsulate his arguments in ways that get traction against his opponents. . . . Goddamn it: stop being so fricking reasonable and above it all.
To his credit, Obama wants to be a world-historical president. He wants to be transformative. He wants to be an FDR. A Kennedy. Even a Reagan. He wants to be what Bill Clinton could have been. He wants to usher in a new age, a new paradigm, and a new coalition.
Like many intellectuals before him, however, Obama is losing himself in a false romantic narrative of the mythical "Great Presidency." Instead of acting -- instead of seizing the existential moment -- he is trying to emulate how these presidencies are remembered in the popular mind. He’s seeing what we today remember about FDR and Kennedy’s challenges to the nation, about Reagan’s public optimism, etc. And he’s trying to mimic that through high-minded nobleness. This is bad.