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What, in other words, was the matter with us? That “what” deserves to be at the center of every Obama appraisal published for the next century or so.

If Mr. Limbaugh reports rightly - and his facts seem to me to be in pretty good order - the American people two years ago elected themselves a president most unlike the one many thought they were getting. The left, to be sure, was overjoyed and should have been. The most cursory investigation of Mr. Obama’s credentials showed him to be flesh of their flesh. That moderates and even some conservatives jumped ship to vote for him is the real oddity. Was he that formidable a campaigner, or had disgust with politics as usual sunk so deeply into the national fiber that we the people just wanted a fresh start?

Soon enough, analysts will commence to consider these and like questions against the backdrop of the deep disillusionment we take almost for granted when talking of Mr. Obama and his deeds. We will start at some point to get to the heart of the matter, no happier probably about ourselves and our capacity for rational choice than is the case is right now.

Barack Obama, it seems accurate and reasonable to say, put one over on us. With our help and encouragement. There’s the rub - with material enough for a veritable library on this extraordinary moment in American history.

William Murchison is a syndicated columnist.