House Republicans haven't made things easy for President Obama—but now, he's facing hurdles within his own party. The New York Times notes that liberals have lately disagreed with Obama on Syria, NSA surveillance, and the consideration of Larry Summers for the Fed chairmanship; they're also unhappy with lack of progress on gun control and immigration reform. Meanwhile, some Democrats take issue with Obama's approach, criticizing him for bowing to Republicans and failing to adequately communicate with his party.
"If you read the papers, you almost think the Republicans are in control," says Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, part of the Dems' caucus. But the intra-party backlash shouldn't be surprising for a second-term president, the Times observes: Both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush struggled within their parties during their second terms. In his first term, the White House points out, Obama had more vote support from congressional Democrats than did any recent predecessor other than Bush. Still, "the gridlock (Obama) faces from Republicans ... is extremely obstructionist to his agenda, so when he runs into Democrats who are blocking him, it becomes insurmountable," says a former aide.