Justin E. H. Smith in his own blog:
I got all teary-eyed around November, 2008, just like every other non-australopithecine American. But unlike most of my co-evolved concitoyens I was not a sucker. I was delighted that we would now have a rational and evidently morally decent person, rather than a cretinous one, volunteering to take on a role that is for structural reasons morally compromising. But I did not think for a second that this was the dawning of some sort of new era. That would be to misunderstand what a president is.
We have what in places like Turkey is lucidly described as a 'deep state' (though in Turkey it's principally the army that is had in mind, while for us it's a more composite beast). The deep state limits drastically what elected officals can do. It is the permanent structure that endures behind the constant electoral spectacle, and it ought to be the only thing of interest to political analysts. Do I blame Obama for the continuation of the Iraq War, the non-closure of Guantánamo, etc.? Just a little bit more than I blame his tailor. For Obama is, as they say, a suit, and many, many people conspire to maintain him as the presentable image of American power. I am incapable of conjuring any commiseration with the conventional liberals who believe disappointment in Obama the person is an appropriate reaction to his record as president.
However little Obama interests me, the current clamoring of the Republican candidates is of an altogether different order of uninterestingness.