In Congress, Republicans are pushing an agenda that is almost identical to the one that their party lost with in November, with no regrets and few efforts to reframe it even rhetorically. The House will vote this week on the third iteration of Mr. Ryan’s budget, which would again try to turn Medicare into a subsidy for private insurance purchases, slash the top income tax rate and cut deeply into programs the president campaigned to protect…

Republicans in the House and Senate are standing firmly in the way of Mr. Obama’s second-term agenda, with a message that is striking when set against the results of an election just four months ago: Mr. President, you have to come to us.

Representative Lynn Jenkins of Kansas, a member of the House Republican leadership, emerged from a closed-door meeting with Mr. Obama last week and declared, “I’m encouraged to have heard from the president today, but more encouraged that perhaps this is an indication he is willing to change course.”

Which raises the question: What are elections for?