To be successful, a president must be adept at [compromise]. President Reagan traded his desire for cuts in domestic spending for congressional support for a military buildup that was crucial to winning the Cold War. The key to prevailing in Iraq was President Bush’s decision to reject a drawdown of forces and order a “surge” of troops. President Clinton moderated his policies, leading to welfare reform and a balanced budget.
So how is Obama doing? The answer is better than you might think, but poorly in the one area most likely to jeopardize his reelection in 2012. The surprise is his adjustment on foreign policy and national security. Obama’s most glaring failure is his lack of flexibility on economic policy and spending.
For a smart man, he can sometimes be awfully slow.