David Ignatius rather uncharacteristically demands to see, for a change, some presidential guns blazing:
It’s depressing that after four years of gridlock, a president who won what was supposed to be a decisive election is back once again to the politics of gridlock. That’s bad for Obama but worse for the country. Obama can still be the strong, successful president the country needs — but not unless he lifts his game.
How? Ignatius' final but foremost (in my opinion) recommendation is that Obama "communicate his vision forcefully to the country, governing over Congress’s head as Ronald Reagan did, if necessary."
There's no "if" about it. The necessity is overwhelming and enormously urgent.
Naturally, no one with even a dram of humanitarian blood wanted to see, say, unemployment benefits interrupted for days or possibly weeks. Yet just as presidents for some higher cause must send men and women to their certain doom in war, presidents must also weigh the tremendous advantages of short-term gains in domestic legislation against that legislation's abiding, long-term evils. He must say No--clearly, forcefully, and absolutely, for the nation's higher cause, no matter the acute pain. Yet Obama, in his most powerful circumstances yet, refused to "govern over Congress's head" and instead chose "No" to momentary agony; and so in the years to come, we--especially the already disadvantaged--shall quite literally pay for it.
What's worse, Republicans--just two months ago, pretty much the "late" Republicans--smell blood, which means there will now be lots more spilled than was otherwise necessary.
It's far from too late. Obama can yet reclaim his title to a great or near-great presidency. But first he'll need to out-audacity the audacious Republicans.