In large measure, the left’s critique of the White House and Democratic leadership is about leadership and principle, about standing for a set of core beliefs and refusing to trade those beliefs away in the vain hope of appearing reasonable to implacable conservative critics:

Obama and his advisers are in the habit of looking to past presidents for guidance. The days of Lincoln and FDR are long gone, but recent presidents like Reagan, Carter, Clinton and Bush still offer a roadmap of what – and what not – to do.

One admonition from President Clinton seems particularly apt for Obama’s predicament: “When people are insecure, they’d rather have someone strong and wrong, rather than weak and right.

This is a truism and George W. Bush banked it for six years until New Orleans drowned and the reality of his policies finally collided with his studiously cultivated image of strength and resolve.

Amazingly, Obama and Democrats have the opportunity to be strong and right, yet refuse to do so.

Or as I’ve put it: If you stand up for your principles, you may lose an election but keep your principles; if you ditch your principles, you’ll lose both.

Via Think Progress, here’s how John Boehner deals with Democrats’ favorite new word, ‘compromise’:

STAHL: But governing means compromising.

BOEHNER: It means working together.

STAHL: It also means compromising.

BOEHNER: It means finding common ground.

STAHL: Okay, is that compromising?

BOEHNER: I made it clear I am not going to compromise on my principles, nor am I going to compromise the will of the American people.

Sadly, Obama could learn a thing or two from Boehner.