This pitch-perfect Enlightenment thinking would prove horribly out of step with a country in which reactionaries had found their footing as the self-designated guardians of a white Christian America in desperate need of restoration, and saw little value in coming together as a nation. Obama pleaded with America to reject polarization at a moment when the other side saw hardcore partisan division as the very essence of the political game. Failing to apprehend the collapse of anything resembling an honest broker among the opposition party, Obama saw fit to make concessions whenever possible—craving grand bargains, blue-ribbon commissions, and the other baubles signifying good earnest liberal compromise, while refusing to prosecute any financiers responsible for the 2008 economic meltdown (in no small part for the eminently pragmatic reason that many such malefactors of great wealth were also leading Democratic donors). Obama continually held out the inviting (to him) vision of procedural comity as a sop to both his opponents, whose concerns would at any time dictate the limits of the debate, and to the current system, which was always already on the way to its ultimate destiny and therefore could not be radically questioned or upended. Obama didn’t champion any sort of movement coalition that could bring about stark reforms or, god forbid, the revolution some accused him of trying to foment. The terms of political engagement in present-day America were to some degree already determined, and these represented the only possible way forward. The business of harnessing political power to create a new framework of engagement that was amenable to the interests of the many, not the few—the very direction suggested by his rhetoric—was never broached.