In the wake of the November elections, President Obama seemed on the ropes politically, his party having absorbed what he called a "shellacking" at the polls. But he and the Democrats have surprised everyone by turning the "lame duck" part of this Congress into a string of (in some cases improbable).
Obama forged a compromise on taxes with the GOP that seemed to some on the left a sell-out, but subsequently was able to deliver the votes in both houses on Capitol Hill. In retrospect, this turned out to be a pragmatic move in unlocking a logjam of legislative business. Shrewd political maneuvering in the Senate (led by--heaven forfend!--Joe Lieberman, getting back into the good graces of his Democratic brethren) resuscitated the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal such that the president signed it into law this morning. (And by the way, his rhetoric at the ceremony this morning seemed to recapture the inspirational mojo which was so much in evidence in 2008 campaign, but seemingly lacking over the past eighteen months!) This afternoon the Republicans have backed down on the question of health care for 9/11 first providers. And now it looks like the votes to support the START treaty are falling into place. Not a bad run for a supposedly crippled president and his party!