Matt Welch on Barack Obama and the Decline of Liberal Dreams


White House

If you want to trace the downward trajectory of the dreams that liberals pinned on the enigmatic figure of Barack Obama, look no further than the presidential histories and political dramas through which they have filtered their understanding of his meteoric rise and drip-by-drip fall in popularity. Barack Obama was going to be the modern embodiment of Abraham Lincoln himself, fulfilling the long-delayed promise of America's racial reconciliation, in part by using his unusual-for-politics parentage as a springboard for uniting, not dividing.

But now, as the administration falters and its backers grow frustrated, Democrats have turned to Frank Underwood, the fictional anti-hero of Netflix's critically acclaimed Washington drama House of Cards. Underwood is a honey-throated liberal Democrat in the LBJ mold who—spoiler alert!—actually murders his way from House majority whip to commander in chief.

That, writes Reason Editor in Chief Matt Welch, is a little troubling.