It's worth remembering that he is a Chicago machine politician -- he was trained in a certain kind of deal-making, so that's what he's been doing, since about a week after the inauguration. He hired a vicious guy from the same background as his first chief of staff, an early bad sign. On top of that, he just seems to be proof that it would be an unusual president who walked into that office and rolled back its powers on his own. He has extended some of the powers Bush arrogated to himself, and he just plain seems to like it. He likes being c-in-c, Hail to the Chief whenever he walks into a room, etc.
He and Holder may have retreated a bit on justice issues b/c of right-wing pressure -- they sort of weakly tried to make the GTMO trials legal, eg, but gave up very fast in the face of paranoid xenophobia. I don't think they've tried for justice since then.
He's a careerist, an empty suit.
Remember how we used to say in the early days of the women's movement that we'd have equality when women could be as mediocre as most men are? Obama has kind of played that out for US blacks, I think.