Thirty-odd years ago, in between college and law school, I spent a summer as a reporter at the Atlanta Journal. For three weeks, I was assigned to the police beat. Each morning I’d arrive at the station house about 6 o’clock and go through the reports of the previous night’s calls, to decide which ones looked newsworthy. If I needed more information, I’d go find it. My editor upbraided me only once: when I interviewed the department spokesman rather than one of the officers.
Presidents who enjoy successful second terms usually pull fresh thinking into their inner circles and maintain close working relations with Congress. Barack Obama has shown little inclination to do either.
Widespread U.S. unhappiness with the government would seem to call for a blockbuster election, such as the one we had exactly a century ago, when both candidates offered sweeping plans for public renewal.