Mr. Obama had numerous opportunities to see what was amiss politically and economically and correct his errors. There was the rise of the tea party and the summer 2009 popular rebellion against ObamaCare. Then Scott Brown’s Massachusetts election. Even after Republicans gained 63 seats in 2010, Mr. Obama might have imitated Bill Clinton after 1994 and made real bows toward centrist governing…

All of these were deliberate political choices, part of his progressive gamble that it will all be worth it if he can win re-election. Higher taxes are already locked into place, ObamaCare’s subsidies are ready to roll out, and the regulatory wave he has delayed past Election Day can recommence. He’ll have put the government in such a dominant position that its new powers will take decades to roll back or reform.

Mr. Obama’s trouser-crease admirers now say they hope Mr. Obama will emerge as a bigger man in his second term, and lately he has been using the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy to revive his postpartisan aura of 2008. But there is nothing—not one policy choice—in his first-term record to suggest this is anything but another ruse to attract independents.