Can an American president make big, historic changes in the country’s direction with a relatively narrow base of political support? That was the challenge President Obama faced when he pushed health-care reform through Congress, and it’s the same problem he faces now in trying to win support for a breakthrough nuclear deal with Iran.
Obama was confident and combative as he made his case this week on Iran. He delivered a powerful speech enumerating the virtues of the agreement. But he included some partisan lines that riled opponents (and some fence-sitters, too), and it’s questionable whether the speech, masterful as it was in analysis, will add any votes of support.