When exactly did Obama become a fan of compromise?

Obama the Compromiser depends on short memories. The Jefferson-Jackson Day speech that fueled his rise in the 2008 Iowa caucuses was a ringing statement of principle and implicit rejection of compromise. He condemned “triangulation,” the dastardly word associated with Pres. Bill Clinton’s work with a Republican Congress in the 1990s…

A clutch of Obama’s supporters still believes he compromised his way through his first two years because he didn’t nationalize the banks, institute a single-payer health-care system or pass a stimulus package north of $1 trillion. None of this represented bending to the will of Republicans, but to the dictates of economic and political reality. The president got the leftmost plausible program he could through Congress. On his own terms, it was a transformational agenda, not a middle ground worked out between Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner.

Without the country’s reaction against the high-handed methods used to pass this highly ideological program, Obama wouldn’t even bother to hector Republicans. His pivot to compromise is a confession of weakness, both of reduced power in Washington and a highly tenuous standing with the public. It is nothing but a lifeline.