"The straw that broke the camel's back". Definition: "The last little burden or problem that causes everything to collapse."
There have been so many avoidable domestic and international missteps in the Obama presidency that is it is hard to single out one and say: That did him in!
There is, at the core, the most profound mismatch between the president's ambitions and the preferences of ordinary Americans. They want reform; he wants transformation.
Then there are the serial policy mistakes, both domestically and abroad. Domestically, any list would have to start with the massive, complex heathcare bill whose support continues to fall, most recently to 35 percent. To that we would have to add the president's enormous spending binge, un-tempered by effectiveness or restraint, and riddled with fraud and mismanagement in pursuit his policy preferences.
The list of his major foreign policy mistakes is even longer and would include the mishandling of Egypt, Syria, and Libya; the failed (again) effort to force an Arab-Israeli agreement; the chimerical "reset" with Russia; and the extraordinarily slow response to ISIS in Iraq. The jury is still out on the president's determined withdrawal from Afghanistan and his equally determined search to reach a nuclear deal with Iran.
And on top of this are the outright lies, such as "if you like your insurance, you can keep it, period", and the serial, almost childlike misrepresentations to avoid criticism or responsibility, such as his insistence that he didn't draw a red line in Syria, the international community did.
The president ran on a platform of being the one candidate who could heal and bridge American's large divides, and that was one large reason why Americans elected him. Had he governed as a soft-left center president like Bill Clinton, he might have succeeded. But he didn't.
Instead, at every point in his presidency where he had a choice between centrist and strong-left policies, he choose the latter and, as a result, exacerbated the divisions he began with to the point where he is the most polarizing president in history.
The fact that the legitimacy of his presidency has lasted so long is testament to the reservoir of hope and goodwill that he began with, even among those who were not supportive of his policy approach.
That protective coating of legitimacy shows evidence of beginning to seriously crack. Its seriousness is reflected in a Washington Post story covering the results of a recent poll, with the headline "A majority of Americans say Obama's presidency is a 'failure'".
After some appropriate data caveats, the article ends as follows:
Regardless, the numbers demonstrate that opposition to Obama's presidency isn't shallow. The fact that people are willing to use the f-word as much as they are — regardless of the alternative — suggests it's not just about the man and what he's done; it's also about the results he's gotten.
And on the whole, Americans give it a failing grade.
It is within this context that the president's determination to issue a sweeping executive order about immigration should be understood.