Andrew Jackson was the first president to claim that the desires of the public overrode Congress's constitutional prerogatives. Virtually every president since Jackson has claimed the mantle, even while lacking two ingredients of an electoral mandate: a landslide victory and a specific agenda.
Washington's answer to a self-inflicted financial crisis reminded Americans why they so deeply distrust the political class. The 'fiscal cliff' process was secretive and sloppy, and the nation's so-called leadership lacked the political courage to address our root problems: joblessness and debt.
Once a popular Alaska governor with a modest record of accomplishment, Palin could conceivably revive her reputation in this era of short memories. But it's hard to imagine her name atop the GOP ballot in 2016, when a cast of heavyweights who sat out 2012 will be vying for the nomination.