Those moves bore no fruit, and his party was quick to suggest that the Republicans were simply too obstinate, too angry, too full-of-themselves to work with a man committed to getting deals done.
Fast forward to the end of 2010. The president and Republicans brokered a deal that will extend for two years the Bush-era tax cuts and also provide for extended unemployment benefits. And by doing so the president is considered a sell-out by many within the Democratic Party.
Perhaps the president is finally being who he wants to be -- pragmatic. So says one Democratic senator. The New York Times notes that the tax deal is just one of many that the President could see move forward in the final hours of the 111th Congress, and many of them could come with an internal political price:
The president’s liberal base is angry at him for what they view as a willingness to compromise too much in the service of getting the tax bill done. And conservatives waiting in the wings to wield their House majority next year are offended by the decision to push through the Democratic agenda this year.Even some of his most ardent critics acknowledge that by moving to the middle (and I'm not sure he was ever that far from it, but let's not get sidetracked) the president will impress independent voters, essential as ever to winning the White House.
Consider that if the president is a sell-out, then so, too, are many Democrats who make up the 111th Congress. As Politico notes in this story: