President Obama has watched the blood-dimmed tide drowning the ceremony of innocence, as Yeats wrote, and he has learned how to emotionally connect with Americans in searing moments, as he did from the White House late Friday night after the second bombing suspect was apprehended in Boston.
Unfortunately, he still has not learned how to govern.
How is it that the president won the argument on gun safety with the public and lost the vote in the Senate? It’s because he doesn’t know how to work the system. And it’s clear now that he doesn’t want to learn, or to even hire some clever people who can tell him how to do it or do it for him.
It’s unbelievable that with 90 percent of Americans on his side, he could get only 54 votes in the Senate. It was a glaring example of his weakness in using leverage to get what he wants. No one on Capitol Hill is scared of him.
Say that again: “No one on Capitol Hill is scared of him.”
We’re only a few months into Obama’s second term, and so far he’s failed to avert sequestration, and failed to block a filibuster on establishing near-universal background checks for gun sales. He did manage to win an increase in the top marginal tax rate, but failed to simultaneously extend the payroll tax holiday.
It does seem inevitable that some form of immigration form will pass, but that’s because Congress wants it, not because of pressure from Obama. Indeed, Republican leaders view failure to pass an immigration reform bill this year as an existential threat to their party. Once immigration reform is done, that’ll be it for the Obama domestic record. Nothing else meaningful will get done for the next three and a half years.
Modern presidents are done about 18 months into their second term, but Obama will be done 6 months into his. And any suggestion that he’ll win back the House in 2014 and have a productive final two years is pure fantasy.