Barack Obama's approval ratings are creeping upward, both because the public likes a jaunty, resolute leader, and because Republican policies are out of sync with public sentiment. Obama pushed Republicans' backs to the wall when they tried to hold hostage tax increases for everybody to a tax cut for the top 1 percent. Obama reminded the public just what a bad idea that was. The Republicans caved. He made it clear that he was not going to allow pay a ransom in exchange for the Republicans relenting on the debt ceiling extension. The Republicans caved again. He came out of the box strong on immigration, insisting on a comprehensive reform package with a path to earned citizenship, and on gun control. On both issues, Republicans are losing the battle for public opinion, and the president has immense powers to move public opinion -- if he will use them.