Obama does not instill fear — one of the customary instruments of presidential power.
Obama is not buoyed by the power of ideas…When President Ronald Reagan hit a similar second-term dead zone during the Iran-Contra scandal in 1986, he was still regarded by conservatives as the godfather of a historic movement.
Obama is standing in a presidential pulpit that recently has proved to be the opposite of bully. So far in 2013, he has tried to harness public opinion to bring Congress to heel on both the budget sequestration and gun control debates. In both cases, Republicans — and in key instances, moderate Democrats — shrugged it off with apparent impunity.