An addendum to my point below:
If he had started out his term as a fierce partisan of the left, he would have betrayed a core campaign promise: to try and move us toward a less fractured and polarized national debate. I agree he failed, but I also believe the GOP is almost entirely at fault. The point of my piece is that Obama cannot force the GOP to change; but he can demonstrate their unreason and in the long game, defeat them. But revealing their extremism and intransigence is important. It's the preliminary to beating them.
The latest NYT/CBS poll has the following data:
60 percent say Mr. Obama is attempting to work with Congressional Republicans to try to accomplish something; 27 percent say Republicans in Congress are making the same effort to work things out with the president.
There is strong public support for politicians to start cooperating. At least 80 percent – regardless of party identification – say Republicans and Democrats should compromise some of their positions in order to get things done.
Majorities of Democrats and independents say Mr. Obama is trying to work with the Republicans and only a third of Republicans agree. But nearly half of the Republicans surveyed do agree with Democrats and independents on one thing: Congressional Republicans are not working with the president to make progress on the legislative agenda.
Now imagine he wins the election decisively. How much longer could the GOP stay this extreme and obstructionist? And these polling numbers show both that independents want compromise and they think Obama is the one most willing to do so.
Meep, motherfucking meep – if you keep eight years as your time-frame. And given that strategy, why on earth would the center or the left abandon Obama now?