There’s the confident, uncompromising Obama who sought to shame and bully Republicans into submitting to his agenda of tax increases and sweeping gun reform. This version of Obama was dominant until one month ago.
Then there’s the calmer, more compromising Obama — the one who has courted Republicans and taken on his own party with a call for (modest) reductions in entitlement spending. This version of Obama took command last month. Both are flailing.
Obama, regardless of the personality and political approach he displays on any given day, keeps running into the same wall of insurmountable opposition. The cold, hard reality is that the president is trapped in a very frustrating box: He realizes that the vast majority of Congress is as impervious to his pressure as it is his charm. He is damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t — and he knows it, several of his friends tell us.
He will most likely get nothing on guns despite his vow after Wednesday’s Senate defeat that “this effort is not over.” He will most likely get nothing more on a grand bargain to lift the economy.
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