Why is Obama unable to compromise? I think there are both personal and political reasons. Far more than other politicians, Obama is convinced of the rightness of whatever he proposes. As best I can tell, this is not merely an excess of self-confidence. It’s a vanity, a conceit. On top of that, Obama regards practically everything Republicans want as ideologically toxic.
He was spoiled in his first two years as president. Democrats had overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate, so he got most of what he wanted—Obamacare, stimulus—without the need to compromise with Republicans for their votes.
When those majorities vanished in the GOP landslide in 2010, Obama was confronted with a Republican House and a barely Democratic Senate. He still hasn’t adjusted. And with reelection, he doesn’t think he has to. He believes it’s time for Republicans to knuckle under.
He talks about a “balanced” approach to taxes and spending. But the balance is heavily weighted in favor of tax increases, the bigger the better, and what often amount to phantom spending cuts. He’ll cut money for overseas wars that was never going to be spent in the first place.