Barack ObamaShelby Steele

Next week’s election is, among other things, a referendum on the idea of president-as-redeemer. We have a president so determined to transform and redeem us from what we are that, by his own words, he is willing to risk being a one-term president. Steele says Obama put the Democrats in the position of forever redeeming a fallen nation rather than leading a great one. People now wonder if Obama can pivot back to the center like Clinton did after his setback in ’94. But Steele suggests that Clinton was already a steward, a policy wonk, a man of the center. For Obama to enjoy such a turnaround he will have to change archetypes.

Steele is a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

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