Well said -- for the most part. I would take issue, however, with the assertion that the election of Barack Obama represented any kind of resurgence of the liberal agenda. Certainly, the man himself is not a progressive or a liberal, but a pragmatist, as one can easily see from (if nothing else) his penchant for re-cycling many of the players in the Clinton Administration. At best, his election represented a sort of triumph of a post-Reagan era, extremely watered down version of liberalism. Though I did not consider him a great president or great communicator, Reagan certainly did alter the way that citizens of this country see themselves in relationship to their government and in relationship to one another. Today, conservative and liberal politicians alike tend to view the public sector as inferior to the private sector in dealing with most issues, even those that would seem to be inherently public, such as the maintenance and improvement of our infrastructure. While conservatives would tend to dismantle the public sector as much as possible ("starve the beast," as Sarah Palin has fairly recently and unoriginally said), liberals will grudgingly admit that certain functions have to be carried out by the public sector, but with fewer and fewer resources, as the public work to be done grows while the discussion of raising taxes cannot even enter the national conversation.
This brings me to the author's possible theories for what happened to the "liberal" agenda in the 2010 elections. I think that the third alternative explanation really gets at the heart of the matter, and that indeed the first two explanations are really only symptoms of the third. We are a nation a majority of whose citizens prefer an atomistic, market-driven society -- from the executives in the corporate suites to the drug dealers on the corners of our cities. Do not both ends of this social spectrum really represent the same thing: that I want what is mine and I want to use whatever power is at my disposal (manipulation of the books or the barrel of a gun) to get it. Of course, most people find themselves in the middle of these extremes, but they too are interested in maintaining what they have. And if that means favoring policies that benefit the wealthy and harm the collective society, then so be it; just as long as they maintain whatever they have.
People like Glen Beck an Sarah Palin merely feed into something hard-wired into the American psyche. In a sense, Reagan didn't bring about a revolution of thought; he re-awakened in Americans something they already believed. It is not the election of 2010 that should surprise us; it is really how someone like FDR could have been elected and how the values he represented ever could have taken hold in the minds of Americans, if only for a short time.