…The fact that Barack Obama is fighting for his political life is still one of the great political stories of the modern era. …

He faced big problems—an economic crash,two wars—but those crises gave him broad latitude. All of his stars were perfectly aligned. He could do anything.

And then it all changed. At a certain point he lost the room.

Books will be written about what happened, but early on the president made two terrible legislative decisions. The stimulus bill was a political disaster, and it wasn’t the cost, it was the content. …

Then health care, a mistake beginning to end. The president’s 14-month-long preoccupation with ObamaCare signaled that he did not share the urgency of people’s most immediate concerns—jobs, the economy, all the coming fiscal cliffs. The famous 2,000-page bill added to their misery by adding to their fear. …

He doesn’t do chastened. He didn’t do what Bill Clinton learned to do, after he took a drubbing in 1994: change course and prosper.