After eight years of undisguised disgust for the president, Joe Klein of TIME must have been a happier man in 2009. He had a president he could support, admire, and promote.

Still, Klein?s latest column (expanded from his normal single page to a six-page spread, no doubt because of the severity of the problem) displays his concern that President Obama is flailing after a single year in office. The subheadline tells us ?Obama?s agenda is on life support.? The same subhead promises that Klein?s work will reveal ?What he must do to revive it.?

One of Klein?s bits of constructive criticism struck me as particularly interesting:

The President insisted, lamely, that he spends plenty of time hearing from average Americans. But he seemed to spend as much time overseas during his first year as he did traveling the country, experiencing the economic anguish firsthand. And he seems to have fallen headlong into the muck and madness of Washington, pursuing a historic goal ? universal health care ? that is certainly worthy, and central to his party’s unfinished legacy, and crucial to the country’s long-term economic future, but peripheral to most Americans, who have relentlessly told pollsters, by huge majorities, that they are happy with the health care they currently receive and far more worried about other things. On this defining issue, the President and his party have lost touch with the country.

In the last sentence, Klein could have lumped himself in with the president and Democratic Party. Is ?universal health care? ? as Democrats define it ? really worthy? Would the United States benefit at all from Democrats? efforts to pursue some ?unfinished legacy,? regardless of the costs and damage to personal freedom and economic growth? Is ?universal health care? ? as Democrats define it ? really crucial to the country?s long-term economic future?

If Klein really believes the answer to all three questions is ?yes,? then any advice he has to offer the president is likely to have the same impact as adding gasoline to a fire.