It is looking increasingly like what will do in Obama is his pragmatism. He is too much of a centrist, always prepared to compromise even before there is any conflict. David Leonhardt makes this claim in a recent column for the New York Times. Economist Joseph E. Stiglitz predicted as much when he argued that the bailout was not big enough. He described the agreed to bailout as “ersatz capitalism, the privatizing of gains and the socializing of losses.” What these policies did was to halt the freefall in the economy but not correct its fundamental flaws. By not taking a firm position on the positive role of the state in the economy, he not only gives himself no opportunity to use his powers of persuasion to shift the public debate but he ended up looking weak. He could not even get fellow Democrats to come to a consensus. Too bad.