Uh, Paul, I might further suggest that hope is all you've got when you think you've run out of options.
Me? I think the Obama crew are like our federal Liberals in the sense that they're simply afraid of doing anything too decisive. Mediocre action actually feels less risky than radical action, even though the opposite is often the case.
Mediocrity in time of crisis means that your actions will be insufficient to combat the crisis. There is also I think a tendency to downplay the severity of a problem, leading one to justify lukewarm solutions that do not go far enough. It's like an abusive relationship where one the abused sort recognises the problem, but not to the degree that will cause them to take the necessary steps to end the abuse.
Since his election Obama hasn't quite manage to fully extract from Iraq, remains in Afghanistan to the point where the US is slowly shifting into an adversarial relationship with Pakistan proper. He couldn't bring banks the heel and fully investigate their executives during the 2008 crisis, and he hasn't quite managed to get the jump on the consequent dep/recession. He certainly hasn't managed to pwn the Republican/Tea Party fanatics, and instead seems to prefer to mush himself into their paws, not to mention divide his own party over the debt ceiling settlement.
His mediocrity has made everything worse, and 'hope' is what he's audaciously substituted for action. The less kind will soon call him a coward.
It really is a shame the rest of us on the planet will have to deal with what this means for 2012.