In his first year in office, Obama faced a popular backlash against his stimulus spending bill and saw a Republican elected to Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat in a referendum on Obamacare. Yet despite these and other setbacks, the president declared he had no intention of moderating his approach. “The one thing I’m really clear about is that I’d rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president,” Obama said in a January 2010 interview.

That attitude is precisely why Obama is a now two-term president.

Instead of backing down in the face of a rising tea party movement, Obama doubled down. He knew full well that that the majority of Americans disagreed with Obamacare, but he believed it was the right thing to do. So he rammed it through Congress, passing it over the near-unanimous opposition of the Republican Party and the objections of the American people.

Voters rebuked him in the 2010 midterm elections, putting the House in Republican hands. But by 2012, Americans gave Obama a second term in office. Now, Obamacare is the permanent law of the land — and Ted Kennedy’s seat is back in Democratic hands. …

Why can’t Republicans do that?