IT WAS early may, and the president was riding high. Politico reported: "Killing Osama bin Laden isn't just an important moment in Barack Obama's presidency-- it's the moment of his presidency, those around Obama say." A New York Times editorial rejoiced that "Mr. Obama's risky and audacious decision to attack the Bin Laden compound in Pakistan has demolished the notion that he cannot make tough decisions." The editorial's title: "The Myth of Mr. Obama's Weakness."
Three months later, Obama looked as weak as any president since Jimmy Carter, or maybe in living memory. Like a leaky balloon, he kept getting smaller. The story was told in the news headlines about an August 11 speech in Holland, Michigan. New York Times: "Obama Urges Voters to Scold Republicans." Associated Press: "Obama: Something Is Wrong With Country's Politics." CNN.com: "President Obama: 'I'm Frustrated.'" Later that day, at a New York fund-raiser, Obama recounted having told audiences on the hustings: "You deserve better than you've been getting out of Washington over the last 2½ months--for that matter, for the last 2½ years." Message: I failed.