What were they? Climate change. “We’re never gonna outdrill the other guys,” he said. “We gotta take some risks on this issue.”
Immigration reform. His Latino allies were right that he had been too timid.
Poverty. He needed to do more.
Peace between “Israel and Palestine.” He had let politics get in the way of working toward a settlement.
Closing Gitmo. Again, he hadn’t tried hard enough. “No one is gonna persuade me that we should run a penal colony in perpetuity in America,” he said.
Gay marriage. He didn’t want to keep dissembling about his real position.
“Taken in sum, Obama’s list was a revealing document,” Halperin and Heilemann write. “He believed that over the past three years his progressive impulses had too often been trumped by the demands of pragmatism. That he had trimmed his sails in just the way his critics on the left had charged.”