It’s early. A lot of Mr. Obama’s centrist admirers are no doubt willing to wait for their moderate man to emerge. I don’t think that will ever happen.

The moderates have nearly no presence in the administration, its agenda, or the congressional leadership. Maybe Larry Summers, on paper. The president likes to talk to moderates, but he doesn’t ask too many to work for him. The internal exile of Paul Volcker speaks volumes. Obama can’t keep the moderate-man conceit going indefinitely.

Barack Obama’s election-victory margin is a slim base built on hopes and dreams. His approval is in decline. The hopes and the approval are going to evaporate so long as the content of his policies continues to uncouple from the persona he put across as a candidate. Ironically, the same thing happened to Obama’s favorite punching bag, George W. Bush, who entered as a conservative standard-bearer and then declined as the personality of his presidency on domestic policy lost focus. A lot of the Bush base drifted away. It can happen here.