Frankly, I disagree that Obama is free from these demons. But still, Sullivan is on to something larger here. And that larger point is that liberals over the past two generations have been afraid to express their real views.
I'm not sure where it comes from. Maybe Nixon's victories. Maybe Reagan's. Maybe Bush's. Maybe from 1994. Maybe from the Latina union-supporting, ERA activist who dumped Mickey Kaus in college. I'm not sure. But somewhere along the way, liberals got it in their heads (not always wrongly) that showing their true colors risked professional and political harm.
A small pitch: the print magazine is arriving in mailboxes now. We put the essay up online first to join the debate more fully after the last Democratic debate. But obviously the online appearance can cut into subscription and newsstand sales. If you appreciate accessing material for free online, one way to support places like the Atlantic who are doing that more and more is to subscribe to the print edition. Much of what's great in the mag is, to my mind, more pleasantly and easily read in print. Dish readers get a great deal on the mag here. Subscribe! Or give it as a Christmas gift.