Obama needs to make people more comfortable with statism

But Judis is wrong to blame the shortcomings of Obama’s presidency primarily on that failure. There is something more fundamental going on here: Obama has failed to advocate passionately and honestly for a new way of understanding the relationship between the people and their government. That failure has left intact the hegemony of conservatism over the body politic—a hegemony that began to take hold during Jimmy Carter’s term in office and has held on tenaciously since then, as neither Bill Clinton nor Obama have made a serious attempt to counter it…

However, what Obama should learn from the example of both presidents is that each understood the need to replace an outmoded ideological paradigm with a compelling new one suited to the present and future. All that talk of “hope” and “change” was enough to win an election against a stumbling Republican opponent who was weighed down by the debacles of the Bush years. But since taking office, Obama has shied away from ideological pronouncements, talking instead about finding some sort of vague bipartisan consensus on major policies. But FDR and Reagan were transformative presidents because both understood the need to elevate motivation over process—to speak clearly, proudly, and, yes, repetitiously about a new kind of politics.