“The best is yet to come,” Obama promised in his November victory speech. And the election result gave him some justification for that promise. He won a lopsided electoral victory and, rare in modern presidential races, a popular majority. This is what makes the second term such a matter of concern, writes Tim Cavanaugh.

Nearly 61 million voters have gotten to know Obama’s mix of soaring rhetoric and bureaucratic reality, messianic claims and crushing mandates, cultish iconography and lawless actions, grand hopes and bland changes. And they decided they wanted more of it.