I now this piece by Jason Linkins is really about David Brooks, but his is one of the best interpretations/explanations I've heard regarding President Obama's tactical long-game.
From Jason Linkins:
I've heard it said that President Barack Obama's tactical game proves that he may be the best student of counter-insurgency strategy among the civilian class. His modus operandi is classic COIN: engage the opposition, peel off the persuadables, marginalize the dead enders, and make it look like the refuseniks missed out on the deal of the century. Then, sit back and watch the public sentiment shift in your direction.
From a political standpoint, it's paid dividends -- the GOP, in the public eye, is the party of "No," of Limbaugh, of Michael Steele's hip-hop jams, of incoherent Tea Parties. Naturally, outside the realm of the purely political, that will only get you so far. Putting the opposition in check doesn't mean that this will have any practical effect on the efficacy of policy.
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