But by tying success of those issues to a Democratic win in 2014, Mr. Obama may be inadvertently abandoning any hope for progress over the next 12 months, Ms. Brown said.
“When you demonize the other side, I don’t understand how it is you can then work with them. If you call the other side crazy for a year and a half, it’s very difficult to say, ‘Oh, yes, I’ve decided to negotiate with those irrational people,’” she said. “I would tell him he actually needs to stop going to the people. He needs to stay in Washington and focus on trying to get something done. If you want to start winning with the American people, you have to start racking up some small wins and achievements.”
Furthermore, the president is wasting a key opportunity to highlight the successes his administration can claim, Ms. Brown said.
Despite its problems, Obamacare represented a major win for Democrats’ decadeslong effort to reform the nation’s health care system.
Under Mr. Obama, the Environmental Protection Agency has begun to implement a host of regulations designed to reduce carbon emissions and make good on the president’s pledge to confront climate change.
By most accounts, Mr. Obama came out of the government shutdown a political winner, having stood his ground and refused to give in to Republican demands that he dismantle or delay parts of the Affordable Care Act. The deal to end the shutdown also has brought about another round of budget talks on Capitol Hill, which may result in a compromise spending plan in which the president gets at least some of what he wanted.
“But you don’t hear the president talking about having the possibility for a new budget deal,” Ms. Brown said. “He seems to be more interested in focusing on, once again, the things Republicans aren’t doing because that helps him stay in campaign mode.”