What happened to the Obama "movement?"

In the year since Election Day, there is scant evidence that Obama remains a movement politician.

The legions of activists and volunteers — the people whose e-mail lists and social-networking skills were supposed to be a potent weapon in Obama’s arsenal during legislative battles — have not made themselves felt in meaningful ways since last year.

And what looked like a transformative result — an electoral map redrawn by Obama’s ability to mobilize both the Democratic base and post-partisan independents — now seems more tentative…

In terms of the culture of Washington, he has made it a bit harder for lobbyists to land government jobs (though there have been plenty of exceptions granted to lobbyists Obama happened to especially want). Yet few people in Washington still regard Obama — clearly at ease with establishment values and personalities — as a dangerous boat rocker. The capital remains a bull market for special-interest deal making. The pharmaceutical lobby, for instance, found Obama eager to do business in which drug makers’ interests were protected in exchange for backing health care reform…

“We thought we were getting a man of action. Instead, we got someone who’ll spend six hours chasing a white ball around a park,” Joe Mathews, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, said, with tongue planted only partly in cheek. “If voters had known about the golf, they would have been less surprised by his lack of urgency on many issues.”

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