The success of Barack Obama and the Democrats during last year’s lame-duck session of Congress gave the President some badly needed stability after the comprehensive “shellacking” his party took in the election. The coordination between the White House and the party’s congressional leaders seemed much stronger than before. Even some Republicans decided to take governing seriously, with an astonishing thirteen of them voting for the “New Start” arms treaty. What remains a bit of a mystery is what Obama himself has learned over his first two years—and how he will govern in the face of a hostile and far more hard-line Republican caucus.
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