As far as the OP goes, I have to agree with Sullivan. Obama has grasped defeat from the jaws of victory. Why? Maybe it's as simple as he doesn't want to be president anymore? They say that Taft never really wanted to be president. As TR's VP he kind of got railroaded into it when TR made the blunder of his life and failed to run for a second term. Taft always wanted to be on the SCOTUS, which he was finally able to do under Harding.
Obama is running as if he wants to lose. It's a combination of Obama being lackluster and Romney telling any lie and taking any position he believes is necessary to win. Romney wants it bad. Obama? Not so much, obviously.
But Sullivan is right. The country is in for it. The Republicans have become a party of extremists, more extreme than any major party has ever been in this country. Reality based government is going out the window to be replaced by ideologues and their dogma. And history shows us that ideology is a dangerous master. History also shows that disparities in wealth tear countries apart. The wealth chasm in America is now the worst in our history. Worse than it was during the Gilded Age when the Robber Barons ruled the country. Under a Romney presidency, it will only get worse.