Make My Day
Barack Obama’s most cherished illusion during his first term was the possibility of cooperation with Republicans. Time and again, the president came to Congress bearing preemptive concessions—on his original economic stimulus package, his health care plan, and the 2011 debt-ceiling fight—only to have the door slammed in his face by an obstructionist GOP that viewed politics as a zero-sum game...
In recent weeks, however, we’ve seen the tentative emergence of a quite different second-term Obama: one shorn of his fantasies about compromise, contemptuous of his opponents, and almost eager to stand on principle. Obama II may be no more likely to get more legislation passed than Obama I. Politically, however, he is a bolder and more appealing figure: less the hostage, more the reluctant gunslinger of the classic Western.