Though a couple weeks old, this item from Xpostfactoid is persuasive, particularly on the question of what makes Obama tick and whether it’s fair for liberals to feel that he has betrayed us. Here’s an excerpt:
No one questions Obama’s high intelligence and analytical approach to policymaking. But smarts don’t trump nature, they bend to it, and even the smartest are susceptible to confirmation bias. Obama’s greatest character strength is also his weakness: he has got where he is by deploying what Garry Wills called “omnidirectional placation, and which in a kinder interpretation (i.e., mine, a while back) might be recast as a bottomless confidence that he can always disarm, win over, find grounds for cooperation with the most seemingly implacable ideological foes.
That orientation has determined his strategy, for better or worse: he is hell-bent on appealing to Republicans’ better angels. The face he put on reasonable Republicanism is John Boehner. That made sense as far as Boehner himself goes — I have been impressed by him this year — but we recently seem to have learned that Boehner does not speak for his party, particularly the frosh (for the measure of their extremism, read Stan Collender’s account of the first Tea Party caucus meeting of the new House).
It’s a careful and nuanced piece that sheds some light. If this question is of interest to you, read the whole thing.