Get ready for the “Obama comeback” stories, in which the same publications that recently declared that “he’s failing miserably” (Politico) and “suddenly looking unsure of himself” (The Economist) discover that he’s thriving again. But the boring truth is that he was pretty much thriving all along. Journalists are non-fiction script-writers. They need plot twists: Barack meets public; Barack loses public; Barack regains public. Bill Clinton was great this way: Whenever things were getting monotonous, he’d grope an intern just to make life interesting. Obama, on the other hand, is relentlessly disciplined, pragmatic, and calm. Beneath the fascinating exterior, he’s dull as hell…

Now Obama is in a similarly fortunate position. Most of the fiscal stimulus passed by Congress hasn’t kicked in yet, and it may not kick in time to save Democrats from grizzly results in next fall’s midterms. But Reagan got clobbered in the 1982 midterms as well, and it didn’t ultimately matter. If the economy is better in 2012 than it was in 2009, even if it’s not all that great, history suggests that Obama will reap the rewards and Republican arguments about deficits will work about as well as Mondale’s did…

So liberals should stop complaining that Obama hasn’t done anything. The stimulus bill—which includes vast sums for college tuition, renewable energy and mass transit—is one of the most important pieces of liberal legislation in decades. And if Obama twins that with health-care reform, he’ll have done more to rebuild the American welfare state in one year than his two Democratic predecessors, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, did in a combined twelve.