"There are, of course, things I don't like about Obama's record too. I wish he hadn't reappointed Ben Bernanke. I wish he'd nominated Diane Wood to the Supreme Court instead of Elena Kagan. His record on civil liberties issues, with a few noticeable exceptions, has been generally lousy. I wish he'd listened to Joe Biden on Afghanistan. I'm not sure that bailing out Chrysler was worth the taxpayer's money.
"But this isn't why I'm schizophrenic about Obama. I never expected to like everything he did. The reason I'm schizophrenic is that it's almost impossible to get a handle on what he really wants. Did he want a bigger stimulus bill but compromised down because $800 billion was all he could get? Or did he not really want more than that in the first place? Ditto for the public option. Ditto for DADT repeal, which he had to be pushed into supporting this year. And ditto again on financial reform, which is worth passing only because of numerous amendments to the original bill. On all of these issues and more, I don't feel like I ever knew what Obama's real position was. There's a big difference between compromising because politics is what it is and you have no choice, and compromising because the more centrist position is the one you genuinely hold. But Obama never gives me a good sense of which it is with him."