It’s fair to say that moment is long gone. And the hope that Obama could restore some order to a dysfunctional government seems to have vaporized with it, if current polls are to be believed. It may be Clinton now who has to pick up the pieces and somehow make the Democratic case for an activist, effective federal bureaucracy, an argument that has become harder to make.

Obama “has made a lot of mistakes. People thought he was an agent of change, but what he didn’t have was executive experience,” says Al From, the founder of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council and a top adviser to President Bill Clinton. “Running the government is more than the politics of good intentions.”…

The resulting composite is a picture of a government that rarely seems to be able to get out of its own way, while doing little to improve the lots of Americans who worry about stagnant wages, college costs, or child care. That’s what a Hillary Clinton candidacy will have to push back against. And what drives progressives to distraction these days is the belief that a majority of Americans are with them when it comes to economic issues, but has soured on the capacity of the government to deliver on them. “What we have seen is a dramatic decline in people’s sense of the ability to get it done,” says Democratic pollster Celinda Lake. “The efficacy.”