By Glenn Thrush - POLITICO
President Barack Obama hopes — expects, really — that ’13 will be his lucky number, a year to cement his historical legacy and reap the benefits of an economy on the cusp of real revival.
That expectation, as much as anything, explains how Obama approached the fiscal cliff and why he opted for compromise over confrontation. The president, eyes fixed on history, always viewed the fight as an obstacle, not a destination, a thing to be gotten past on his way to breaking the historical pattern of weak, scandal-scarred and anticlimactic second-term presidencies.
But the endless battle over the budget — new fights over the debt ceiling and automatic spending cuts loom in a matter of weeks — could become a legacy trap for Obama, robbing him of precious leverage to redefine his relationship with Republicans on terms more favorable to an ambitious second-term agenda, scholars of the presidency say.
“People don’t queue up in lines to see the pens for a budget deal under glass, or ‘Hey, I just cut this deal with Boehner,’” says presidential historian Douglas Brinkley.