Mark Thoma argues that Obama was always a centrist, and he probably believes he’s winning the game:
The GOP will do its very best to take ownership of anything positive that comes out of deals with Obama — they will claim they forced him to do the good things against his and the Democrat’s will — and they will try to pin him with anything negative, real or imagined. In any case, I think the most important question is whether just under two years (until the election) is enough time for labor markets to recover. People won’t care much about what happens now, “what have you done for me lately” is the more important consideration, so the condition of the economy around the election is the key factor.
I think two years would be enough time for labor markets to recover if we could expect policy supporting employment along the way. But we are likely to get just the opposite, deficit cutting measures and other policies that work against employment and hence work against electoral success for the Democrats. Toss in a compromise on Social Security that angers the Democratic base, a possibility that cannot be dismissed as Obama follows up on what appears to be a successful move to the center, and the future does not look as bright. Obama may think he is playing the game well now, but the game is far from over.