…[T]he worst thing about Obamacare was that it was awful politics. By ramming it through Congress when he did, Mr. Obama sacrificed the chance to carry out serious financial reform, and also to build consensus with the Republicans on other vital issues. Obamacare may have been a moral victory, but it was a failure of strategic leadership. As Democratic congressman Barney Frank told New York magazine, “I think we paid a terrible price for health care.”

Then came the campaign. Mr. Romney moved to the centre, but Mr. Obama didn’t. The President’s entire campaign had been built on demonizing his opponent as a charmless, rapacious plutocrat. It all went off the rails when Mr. Romney showed up at the first debate and impersonated a normal human being. Now Mr. Romney’s flip-flopping, which used to be regarded as a flaw, has become an asset. …

The trouble is, this time around Mr. Obama hasn’t bothered to campaign on the big stuff. He has campaigned on little stuff. We know where he stands on free contraception (not exactly the biggest priority for voters these days), and we know he wants to tax the rich. But what’s the long-term plan? What’s his vision for the next four years? If he has one, he’s kept it to himself. Amazingly, both candidates have managed to spend the entire election campaign avoiding any mention of the fiscal cliff, or the fiscal abyss that America is falling into even if it avoids the fiscal cliff, or the steps the nation will have to take to save itself from economic oblivion.