(Politico) - Never before had President Barack Obama put the moral force and political muscle of his presidency behind an issue quite this big — and lost quite this badly.
The president, shaken to the core by the massacre of 26 innocents at Sandy Hook Elementary School, broke his own informal “Obama Rule” — of never leaning into an issue without a clear path to victory — first by pushing for a massive gun control package no one expected to pass, and then sticking through it even as he retrenched to a relatively modest bipartisan bill mandating national background checks on gun purchases.
It was a bitter defeat for a president accustomed to winning, a second-term downer that may — or may not — foreshadow the slow decline suffered by so many of his predecessors. Obama seems to have the public behind him, but it illustrated his less-than-Johnsonian powers of personal persuasion, the possible shortcomings of his decision to wait a month after the killings to present a plan and above all the limits of his go-to “outside” strategy of taking his case directly to the American people.
More than anything, it was an emotional blow to Obama, who was as irritated at the four members of his own party as he was at the 90 percent of Republicans who defeated the bill. Continue reading via Politico...