Whatever happened to all those promises Obama made during the State of the Union?
All that applause. All that adoration. The president's state of the union address was considered brilliant by much of the press.
So what happened to all the promises?
The president's laundry list of goals for his second term have either been defeated or not even brought out for a vote by either House. The sole exception is immigration reform and most of that "comprehensive" measure is going nowhere in the House.
The White House's problem is perhaps best epitomized by the battle over gun control. The crescendo of February's speech was the president's emotional call for a vote on new regulations, noting the presence of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) -- who was shot by a would-be assassin -- in the audience.
But the president's push for new gun controls flamed out in the Senate, where Democrats were unable to corral enough votes even for a background check expansion favored by two-thirds of all Americans.
A proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9 per hour hasn't earned a hearing in the House of Representatives yet, and Democratic plans are unlikely to progress to a vote. Earlier this week, fast food workers in seven cities nationwide went on strike to protest the $7.25 going rate.
The president also made an impassioned call to repeal the sequester -- $80 billion in across-the-board cuts to the federal budget. But with a fresh round of budget battles arriving this fall, Republicans insist they want to maintain the same level of austerity.
In one of the more poignant moments of his address, the president pointed to a 102-year-old woman in the audience who waited hours to vote in the 2012 election.
Although Obama has appointed a new commission to examine voter access and poll waiting times, there are few substantive steps the federal panel can take to force the state and local governments that facilitate voting to act. Meanwhile, a Supreme Court decision striking down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act will likely open the floodgates to stricter voter identification requirements in Southern states.
And on immigration, a rare legislative win in the Senate -- where a comprehensive reform package passed in a bipartisan 68-32 vote -- has been neutered by the insistence by House Republicans that they will address changes to immigration law in a piecemeal fashion. President Obama had hoped to sign a bill before the August recess, but the House has barely begun work on their reform efforts.
The effect of gridlock has begun to wear on the president's approval ratings. A Marist poll released last week showed just 41 percent of Americans approving of the job the president was doing, his lowest numbers since September, 2011.
It isn't just Republicans. Democrats in the senate also refuse to take up much of his agenda - largely because they couldn't pass.
Rich Baehr thinks that the public is finally starting to tune out Obama. I don't see how you can come to any other conclusion when you realize just how impotent Obama has become.