He called them hard choices for a reason, of course: One by one, each decision stirs opposition. Public opinion surveys, and political advisers, sound the alarm. “Saving” Social Security, like staying aloof from Syria, polls well.
But just as Americans don’t like to think of themselves as people who will allow a dictator such as Bashar Assad to murder and torture with impunity, they don’t like to think of themselves as a nation incapable of coming together to solve big problems. Obama may have won the polls but lost the battles that count.
Recently, in rallying allies to help Ukraine, Obama has shown the kind of leadership abroad that Americans expect of their president. He could still do the same at home. With nearly three years left in his presidency, he is a lame duck only if he chooses to be.