Crises are opportunities. He has consistently missed them. This was a grand opportunity to pull together the threads -- BP and the spill, Massey and the mine disaster, Wall Street and the economic disaster, Anthem BlueCross and health care, the Arizona Immigration Law, Don't Ask, Don't Tell -- even Afghanistan. The press threw him fastballs straight down the middle, and he hit dribblers every time.
The central idea is Empathy. Democracy is based on empathy, on people caring about one another and acting to the very best of their ability on that care, for their families, their communities, their nation, and the world. Government must also care and act on that care. Government's job is to protect and empower its citizens.
That idea is what draws together all the threads. The bottom line for corporations (whether BP, Massey, Anthem or Goldman Sachs) is money, not empathy. The bottom line for those who hate (whether homophobes, the Arizona Legislature, or al Qaeda) is domination and oppression, not empathy.
But to make it central and powerful would be confrontational. It would bring him head-to-head with right-wing ideology -- empathy-free, self-interest maximizing, with disdain or even hatred for those seen as lesser beings. It is self-reinforcing: a value-system that above all promotes that value-system itself.