The check-the-box presidency

A $60 billion cut in the stimulus package? “OK.” Use the reconciliation process to pass the health-care bill? A checkmark in the box labeled “yes.”

Include medical-malpractice reform in the health-care bill? The man who as an Illinois legislator often voted “present” writes, “We should explore it.”…

He mentions just in passing that Obama “had decided to pursue health care reform” as well as the stimulus package — a choice that inevitably made bipartisanship harder to achieve.

At one point Lizza does quote Obama writing on a memo, “Have we looked at any of the other GOP recommendations (e.g., Paul Ryan’s) to see if they make any sense?” Another president might have looked at Ryan’s proposals himself, or might even have called him on the phone.