One for the Obots. Also, Todd Purdum, in Politico of all places:
Barack Obama is not a modest man, but when it comes to assessing his or any president’s place in the long American story, he has been heard to say, “We just try to get our paragraph right.” Yet the way a raft of recent events have broken sharply in his favor, Obama suddenly seems well on his way to writing a whole page—or at least a big, fat passage—in the history books.
From the Supreme Court decisions upholding his signature health care plan and the right of gay Americans to marry, to contested passage of fast track trade authority, the opening of normal diplomatic relations with Cuba and an international agreement to curtail Iran’s nuclear weapons program, Obama is on a policy and political roll that would have seem unimaginable to many in Washington only a few months ago.
“Obama may be singular as a president, not only because of his striking background,” says Kenneth Adelman, who was Ronald Reagan’s arms control negotiator with the Soviets three decades ago, and who has his doubts about the Iran deal. “It may turn out that unlike virtually any other president, his second term is actually better than his first.”…
“It is a measure of the times in which we live that we start the legacy discussion a year and a half before the end of a presidency,” says David Axelrod, Obama’s former longtime strategist. “But he’s had the most productive period he’s enjoyed since the first two years: Cuba, the climate agreement with China, action on immigration, fast track on trade, the SCOTUS decisions on health care and marriage and now this agreement on Iran. These are big, historically significant developments, in most cases the culmination of years of commitment on his part.”…
…[T]ime and again, Obama has proven himself patient and willing to play what he likes to call the long game, or what Axelrod summed up as “the determination to resist small, incremental politics to do big, transformational things.”
The president’s former chief speechwriter, Jon Favreau, notes that almost all of Obama’s recent successes had their origins in things he said and did long ago, including his insistence in a 2007 primary debate that it was worth talking even to enemies (an assertion that many commentators saw as a gaffe at the time) and his 2008 Philadelphia speech on race (which he made over the nervous objections of some of his advisers).
“This is the long game paying off,” Favreau says. “Most critically, he understood that change on all of these issues would come at a slower and more gradual pace than the perpetual hysterics in Washington would demand. When it came time to actually govern, he put the history books ahead of the news cycles, and our politics will be better off if future presidents follow his example—because the thousands of words written since the midterms about how resigned and defeated Obama is now seem as insightful as the comments section of a blog.”…
Apart from hard-earned plaudits, what’s on the agenda as we start another week?