President Barack Obama won big.
So why did the moment feel so small?
At his victory scold in the State Dining Room on Thursday, the president who yearned to be transformational stood beneath an oil portrait of Abraham Lincoln and demanded . . . a farm bill. He also couldnít resist taking a holier-than-thou tone toward his tail-between-their-legs tea party foes. He assumed his favorite role of the shining knight hectoring the benighted: Sir Lecturealot.
ìAll of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists and the bloggers and the talking heads on radio and the professional activists who profit from conflict,î he sermonized. (We have met the enemy and they are . . . bloggers?)
Certainly, the House Republicans who held their breath until the country turned blue acted like foolhardy children on what John McCain called ìa foolís errand.î
The country agreed. So it probably wasnít necessary for papa to preach, overacting the role of weary parent watching the irresponsible kids make their mistakes.
Sir Lecturealot, who hates selling and explaining and negotiating and cajoling and knocking noggins, always manages to convey tedium at the idea that he actually has to persuade people to come along with him, given the fact that he feels heís doing whatís right.
Obama says he will now work for an immigration bill and a budget deal with deficit cuts. But as Peter Nicholas and Carol E. Lee pointed out in the Wall Street Journal, the president did not mention his more ambitious goals: hiking the minimum wage, widening access to preschool education and shoring up bridges and roads.
ìThose efforts require bipartisan consensus that may be even more elusive amid the ill will carried over from the budget fight,î they wrote.
McCain, who excoriated the tea party zanies and voted with the president, indicated to the Journal that the president had poisoned the well. ìA lot of us are resentful that he didnít negotiate as hard as we think he could have or should have,î he said. He told CNN that if Obama did not ìengageî with his adversaries, ìobviously youíre not going to be a successful president.î