I still remember the 2008 campaign. The then-Senator Obama’s promise of hope and change. The amazingly large crowds. The ringing refrain from his speech at the Democratic National Convention four years earlier: “There is no red America, there is no blue America. There is only the United States of America.”
Other events come to mind. The promise of a new Camelot. The endorsement by Caroline Kennedy of Obama as the fulfillment of her father’s vision.
The only regrets from that time and the only caveats came from Hillary Clinton who warned us about the 3 AM phone call and who presciently said that you need someone tough because the Republicans aren’t playing games. She turned out to be right and who knows how history may have been changed if she had been elected instead.
Yet there is no point in recriminations. The past six years haven’t been a waste of time. Transformative change made our health care system fairer and open to all Americans. The Dodd Frank bill reformed Wall Street even with the recent easing of regulations.
But the past couple of weeks have seen the President from the 2008 campaign re-emerge. The audacity of hope has returned to our President through the climate-change treaty with China, the reform of our immigration system to keep families together, the bold diplomatic move on Cuba and many other smaller actions garnering less press attention.
The President has finally figured out that his office carries a lot of power, and he can use that power to enact a progressive agenda. No matter how much the Republicans in Congress kick and scream about it.