It’s hard to escape the impression that Republicans have taken Mr. Obama’s measure—that they’re calling his bluff in the belief that he can be counted on to fold. And it’s also hard to escape the impression that they’re right. The real question is what Mr. Obama and his inner circle are thinking. Do they really believe, after all this time, that gestures of appeasement to the G.O.P. will elicit a good-faith response?
What’s even more puzzling is the apparent indifference of the Obama team to the effect of such gestures on their supporters. One would have expected a candidate who rode the enthusiasm of activists to an upset victory in the Democratic primary to realize that this enthusiasm was an important asset. Instead, however, Mr. Obama almost seems as if he’s trying, systematically, to disappoint his once-fervent supporters, to convince the people who put him where he is that they made an embarrassing mistake.
- That Was Then
Whatever is going on inside the White House, from the outside it looks like moral collapse—a complete failure of purpose and loss of direction.