The Moment

2|28|09: Washington

Sooner or later, most administrations make some version of the Sun King's mistake. "L'├ętat, c'est moi," Louis XIV of France is said to have declared--"I am the state." To criticize becomes downright unpatriotic.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs crept up to that line--even put his toe over--as he tried to capitalize on the anti-Obama declarations of talk-show leviathan Rush Limbaugh. In January and again at a recent gathering of conservatives in Washington, Limbaugh pointedly voiced his hopes that Barack Obama's economic proposals will fail.

Limbaugh is hardly the only American with doubts. A poll by the Wall Street Journal and...