That’s what they’ve got: an undertaker, an albatross, a natterer.

Democrats are individually trying to place themselves right with their own base, which grows more leftishly restive and is losing them the center. They’re trying to figure out how to cleave to that base while remaining politically viable.

The sophisticated and sober-minded GOP class should understand that the national press is dying to impose a story line: extremist, intransigent ideologues come to Washington to defy the president. It’s important to them that the Republicans be the bad guys. If the president can’t quite be painted as the good guy, at least he can be portrayed as the more nuanced and interesting figure, the historic president beset by smaller foes in his last two years.