Mr Obama's apologists have claimed throughout this election campaign that much of the reason for Obama's failure to achieve his vaunted 'change' has been resistance and obstruction in Congress to many of his economic and social measures.
If this is so, and the emptiness of the last four years is indeed due to a reassertion of the Congress over the presidency, then those who argued that 'much of Congress's power to manage the budget has been lost when the
welfare state expanded since "entitlements were institutionally detached
from Congress's ordinary legislative routine and rhythm. [and]"Another factor leading to less control over the budget was a keynesian belief that balanced budgets were unnecessary.', are now out-dated.
Either Obama has presided over a massive diminishing of the influence and power of the office he has been holding (which on Angels' take on the United States constitution would be a welcome development) or the wasting of all that 2008 hope and good will is a measure of the policy void of the last four years.
Insofar as Obama's re-election for the second half of the usual term of office for a United States president would lead to a further growth in the power of a resurgent Congress, it is to be welcomed; as is an economic policy that permits considerable free-riding, particularly by the Europeans while they repair their own economies. But it does seem a bit hard on all those voters who sought economic growth and social and cultural reconciliation. Those are not ever going to be delivered by a man like Obama, who acted in the first 4 years as if winning meant riding roughshod over principled opposition and well-founded misgiving in everything that he has manged to do.