For years, most Americans' vision of history has been shaped by the New Deal historians. Writing soon after Franklin Roosevelt's death, Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and others celebrated his accomplishments and denigrated his opponents.
The House Republicans, in serious trouble with public opinion as they blinked facing the "fiscal cliff" over New Year's, seem suddenly to be playing a more successful game -- or rather, games -- an inside game and an outside game.
Commentators both left and right agree that Barack Obama's second inaugural speech Monday was highly partisan, with shoutouts to his constituencies on the left and defiance of his critics on the right.
To judge from his surly demeanor and defiant words at his press conference on Monday, Barack Obama begins his second term with a strategy to defeat and humiliate Republicans rather than a strategy to govern.
Barack Obama, we have been told by his admirers on the left and right, is an instinctive centrist, a moderate always ready to negotiate compromises, a politician deeply interested in the nuances of public policy.
There's a natural human impulse to help people who need a hand. In the political world, that often translates to an impulse to have government help people who need a hand. Who wants to argue with that?
Americans are very generous to people with disabilities. Since passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act in 1990, millions of public and private dollars have been spent on curb cuts, bus lifts and special elevators.
In his first formal press conference in months, Barack Obama showed that getting re-elected can increase a president's confidence and combativeness. He staked out tough stands on several issues, especially on the looming budget negotiations.
Back in May, I wrote a column laying out possible scenarios for the 2012 campaign different from the conventional wisdom that it would be a long, hard slog through a fixed list of target states like the race in 2004.