Suderman believes it's a fiction:
It’s no surprise that Obama thinks his biggest flaw is insufficiently effective storytelling. He wanted to tell a story that would obliterate the past and remake the world of politics from whole cloth. But unlike his early days, he has to live with the facts he’s been given, the history he’s actually made, rather than the myth of his own creation. Obama’s greatest strength has always been his ability to tell an engaging tale, to imagine more powerful narratives for the people who inhabit his world. But he could never live up to the one he imagined for himself.
I disagree, although the piece is very insightful in many ways. Obama's record is immensely impressive as I argued at some length here. He inherited an economy in free-fall; he put a bottom on it and over 4 million private sector jobs have been created since and the unemployment rate is actually lower than when he took office. It would be much lower if Republican governors had not been slashing government payrolls. He ended the war in Iraq; he has brought the Iranian economy to its knees; he decimated al Qaeda and found and killed Osama bin Laden; he enacted universal healthcare – an historic change that eluded even that political master, Bill Clinton.
What he didn't imagine and what I didn't imagine (and that Peter doesn't mention) is that the party that drove this country into the biggest fiscal, moral, diplomatic and military ditch since the 1970s would immediately turn around and, instead of constructively attempting to help in the worst recession since the 1930s, opted for total obstructionism and party before country. I think the GOP recognized the profound threat Obama represented, the magnitude of their failure, and have done all they could to stop him getting the second term he always needed to fulfill his promise and check them for a generation. They have failed, by and large. Which is why, of course, I felt so crushed after last week's debate. Obama allowed them to reset the narrative with lies that were left hanging as if unrebuttable. I've beaten him up enough. We all screw up. What matters is acknowledging the fuck-up and remembering to buck up. It's not any single failure that defines you, however great. It's how you respond.
Over to you, Joe. Over to you. And then, Mr President, you need to perform better than you ever have in a debate before.