Friday brought some good news for both the Obama White House and the nation: improvement on the jobs front, bipartisan lunches, a captured terrorist (albeit one being tried in federal court, which is a mistake).
It’s a reminder of what the Obama presidency could have been like. The fact that lunch with the opposition is considered newsworthy is a reminder of just how different, and disappointing, the Obama presidency has been.
Obama’s agenda remains radical, and long-term. He’s willing to present the appearance of moderation and bipartisanship only when his confrontational tactics backfire, as they did on the sequester–or when, as in Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’s filibuster, the other side shows greater courage and skill in confrontation than his own.
Obama cares about his legacy, but he’s not worried about it. He is our first black president and he was just re-elected. He knows he’ll have a place in history. His goal is to push the nation as far to the left as possible in the time he has left, and he has no reason to fear losing legacy points. His side will always tell their own version, anyway–we are doomed to be as divided in our memories of this period as we are in living through it.
So, while it would be nice to imagine a new Era of Good Feelings, the die has already been cast. Lunch and dinner aside, American politics today demand strong opposition, and strident defenses of liberty.