"The summer has been a bummer for American liberals," writes Guardian America editor Michael Tomasky; after the heady optimism of President Obama's first 100 days, "reality has set in, and with force." Not only is conservative opposition "as Leninist as ever," but liberals have descended into a funk, unable to believe that their man is floundering. That's why Obama needs to go big during tonight's address—not only to save health reform, but to save his own supporters.
Obama's fans seem to have forgotten about the existence of Congress, which "by its very institutional nature likes to slow presidents down"—even George W. Bush couldn't get everything through. Obama will probably compromise on the public option, and a moderate bill will probably pass. Liberals need to rejoice in that, Tomasky insists, rather than "call it defeat and label Obama a weakling and a sellout."