Ed Luce‘s Financial Times assessment of the Obama administration’s failure says it’s basically caught in a campaign mode, and that the principal bad guys behind this emphasis are Obama’s four most trusted aides — chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, senior adviser David Axelrod, spokesperson Robert Gibbs and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.

A HuffPost summary states that “if current trends continue, this once mesmerizing Camelot-ish operation will be be seen in the history books as the presidential administration that — to distort slightly and inversely paraphrase Churchill — never have so many talented people managed to achieve so little with so much.”

“Just over a year into his tenure, America’s 44th president governs a bitterly divided nation, a world increasingly hard to manage and an America that seems more disillusioned than ever with Washington’s ways. What went wrong?

“Those around [Obama] have a…specific diagnosis, and one that is striking in its uniformity. The Obama White House is geared for campaigning rather than governing, they say.

“Barring Richard Nixon‘s White House, few can think of an administration that has been so dominated by such a small inner circle.

“‘It is a very tightly knit group,’ says a prominent Obama backer who has visited the White House more than 40 times in the past year. ‘This is a kind of ‘we few’ group…that achieved the improbable in the most unlikely election victory anyone can remember and, unsurprisingly, their bond is very deep.’

John Podesta, a former chief of staff to Bill Clinton and founder of the Center for American Progress, the most influential think-tank in Mr Obama’s Washington, says that while he believes Mr. Obama does hear a range of views, including dissenting advice, problems can arise from the narrow composition of the group itself.”