In a press conference this afternoon to discuss his deal with the GOP on the Bush tax cuts, Obama took shots at both his fellow Democrats and the Republican opposition. But he wasn't just blowing off steam. He was laying out the philosophy that guides him as president one that you'd think would be apparent by now, one seemingly not shared by anyone serving in Congress: Don't make the perfect the enemy of the good. It was a strong rebuke not only to how Congress has handled the debate over the tax-cut extension, but how Washington operates in general.
Watch it again. This is Obama in a nutshell.
Obama's frustration with the expectations he's being held up to by his own supporters is palpable. But he was also critical of the GOP's lack of flexibility in their negotiations. In fact, he compared them to hostage takers, threatening harm on 98 percent of America unless Democrats paid their ransom tax cuts for the wealthy.
Cementing a reputation as a pragmatist who will do whatever it takes to break the gridlock in Washington is why we suspect Obama won't mind so much having to deal with a Republican House and a closely divided Senate over the next two years, as he seeks to win back independents who he'll need in order to win in 2012.