Three examples from October undermining the public good.
Pres. Obama gave a so-so speech on immigration out in Nevada.
He spoke movingly about the pain that 11 million people in this country feel because they have to live their lives in the shadows, as he put it.
And he was blunt about the ugliness that immigrants have faced over the years and the generations.
"When each new wave of immigrants arrived, they faced resistance from those who were already here," he pointed out. "They faced hardship. They faced racism. They faced ridicule."
It was refreshing to hear the President of the United States use the R word again.
But I can't let Obama get away saying that "we focused our enforcement efforts on criminals who are here illegally and who endanger our communities."
The fact is, Obama deported more undocumented people, most of them not hardened criminals, at a rate higher than any President before him. He sure doesn't deserve credit for that.
And he didn't stake out firm opposition to the bipartisan Senators' proposal that would require increased security first, and certification of that security by Southwestern officials, before opening a path to citizenship.
That could close the path forever, since some of those officials, like Jan Brewer would probably never certify it.
Obama's got to put his foot down on this one, or meaningful immigration reform just will not happen.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Tom Harkin: We'll Miss You and Your Courage."
Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter.