Itís getting harder and harder for most Americans, looking honestly at the state of the nation, to see the glass as half full. And thatís why the public opinion polls contain nothing but bad news for Barack Obama and the Democrats.

The oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, the war in Afghanistan and, above all, the continuing epidemic of joblessness have pushed the nation into a funk. All the crowing in the world about the administrationís legislative accomplishments ó last yearís stimulus package, this yearís health care reform, etc. ó is not enough to lift the gloom.

Mr. Obama and the Democrats have wasted the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity handed to them in the 2008 election. They did not focus on jobs, jobs, jobs as their primary mission, and they did not call on Americans to join in a bold national effort (which would have required a great deal of shared sacrifice) to solve a wide range of very serious problems, from our over-reliance on fossil fuels to the sorry state of public education to the need to rebuild the nationís rotting infrastructure.

All of that could have been pulled together under the umbrella of job creation ó short-term and long-term. In the immediate aftermath of Mr. Obamaís historic victory, and with the trauma of the economic collapse still upon us, it would have been very difficult for Republicans on Capitol Hill to stand in the way of a rebuild-America campaign aimed at putting millions of men and women back to work.

Mr. Obama had campaigned on the mantra of change, and that would have been the kind of change that working people could have gotten behind. But it never happened. Job creation was the trump card in the hand held by Mr. Obama and the Democrats, but they never played it. And now weíre paying a fearful price.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/29/opini ... rbert.html