This time three years ago, two months after the 2008 election and a month before his inauguration, so many of us had high hopes for Barack Obama. Pundits proclaimed him a transformational president, a new Franklin Delano Roosevelt, coming to power in time of crisis to remake his country. No such luck. Today, even his acolytes are disappointed.
To some extent, this is unfair. Barack Obama has had to deal with calamities left him by his predecessors. Considering the sclerotic nature of American politics and the intransigence of his opposition he has done reasonably well. Against the odds, he has passed a major if not perfect health care reform act and even more important, saved the banking system from collapse, so avoiding a replay of the Great Depression.
But Roosevelt also faced a harsh economic environment