“There’s no doubt that Obama has turned out to be a major enigma and disappointment,” the historian told me. “He waged such a brilliant campaign, first against Hillary Clinton in the primaries, and then against John McCain in the general election. For a long time, I found it hard to understand why he couldn’t translate his political savvy into effective governance.

“But I think I know the answer now,” he continued. “Since the beginning of his administration, Obama hasn’t been able to capture the public’s imagination and inspire people to follow him. Vision isn’t enough in a president. Great presidents not only have to enunciate their vision; they must lead by example and inspiration. Franklin Roosevelt spoke to the individual. He and Ronald Reagan had the ability to make each American feel that the president cared deeply and personally about them.

“That quality has been lacking in Obama. People don’t feel that he’s on their side. Obama doesn’t connect. He doesn’t have the answers. The irony is that he was supposed to be such a brilliant orator. But, in fact, he’s turned out to be a failure as a communicator.”