Era of No Consensus

No, Obama's not FDR; he's also not the first President to start over. It's just tough to have to do it now

Arthur Hochstein and Lon Tweeten for TIME; FDR: AP; Obama: John Gree: Reuters

"It's a terrible thing to look over your shoulder when you are trying to lead, and find no one there."
—Franklin Roosevelt

A year ago, with the prospect of a second Great Depression terrifyingly real, many were quick to cast Barack Obama as another FDR. The prospect of a 21st century New Deal formed part of a larger narrative about the 2008 election. Fueled by anger over two unpopular wars, an economy in meltdown and simple Bush fatigue, voters weren't merely repudiating the status quo. In choosing Obama, they had transformed a center-right country into a center-left one.

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