“America is …, uh, is no longer, uh … what it could be, what it once was.”
Barack Obama, Aug. 6, 2008, Campaign stop in Elkhart, Indiana.
This seems a totally incoherent statement. Something no longer being what it could be is a nonsensical confusion of tenses (really, really inartful). What mythical golden age does the second part refer to: when slavery was legal, when the country was torn apart by a civil war, when the Indians were being rounded up onto reservations, when monopolies and rich industrial barons and bankers ruled the economy, when we were involved in two world wars, or when we suffered through the Great Depression? One suspects he is thinking of recent Democrat administrations like Kennedy, Johnson, or Clinton(?), but these were not the halcyon days liberals would have us think.