National polls show nearly across-the-board declines in public confidence in Democratic leadership. In the usual partisan calculus of win-and-loss this would seem the moment of the chief executive's maximum weakness and, therefore, of Republican advantage. Consider this, though.
To many on the left, President Obama is a disappointment. To many on the right, President Obama is a socialist threat to American freedoms. Both of these reactions are based on projections -- the unconscious fantasies of each group projected onto the president.
Given the Republican strategy of take-no-prisoners, the only bipartisanship is capitulation. It's hard to tack back and forth between leadership and appeasement without looking like a captain who's not sure where he's taking the ship. More leadership, please.
Democratic leaders and the White House are congratulating themselves as they depart for the holiday weekend about their tax-holiday victory over GOP hardliners. But the payroll tax holiday, like most vacations, will have its bill to pay.
Aaron Burr was a victim of his own nonpartisanship, his openness to working with political opponents as well as allies. Burr's story illustrates that Americans love nonpartisanship in principle but often disdain it in practice.
For the first two years of his administration, Obama had no overriding narrative, no frame to define his policymaking, no way to make sense of what he was trying to do. As of his 2011 State of the Union Address, he has one: Competitiveness.
I used to imagine the president was playing 11-dimensional political chess with Republicans, a strategy I was too dim to grasp. I've begun to wonder whether his negotiating is his way of dog-whistling to Independents that he's their guy.
Many who listened to President Obama's account of this week's meeting with Republicans believed there was hope for a bipartisan conclusion to the lame duck Congress. What planet do he and they think they're on?
Mrs. Obama, it seems as if everyone who cares about your husband is talking at him. It doesn't seem as if he hears any of us, but everything we know about your relationship suggests that he does listen to you.
Obama's standing will depend on how well he can hold on to what he learned from House Democrats riled up by Gibbs: that he can do more for the country not by holding hands with Mitch McConnell, but by taking names and kicking butt.
The GOP calls Obama a lying, socialist, Commie mole and he continues to take the high road. To borrow from a religious tradition, no matter how much you love your enemy, sometimes you just have to throw the moneychangers out of the temple.
With all the health care bill's deficiencies, winning its passage would be a triumph, not just for expansion of health coverage, but for Obama's capacity to grow in office and defeat Republican obstruction.