President Obama, congressional Democrats and congressional Republicans must do what is best for the United States at this time. Democrats wish they had congressional Republicans like Tip O'neil had, and Republican wish they had congressional Democrats like Ronald Reagan had. But that is not the kind of congress we have. It not the kind of congress most Americans thought they they elected but apparently it's the kind of candidates they voted for. If voters believe they have made a mistake, they have the next election to make it right.
President Obama is a principled person who wants to do the right thing and not set precedents for future presidents that are detrimental to the stability and proper functioning of freedom and the ultimate will of the people in the American democracy. But he must deal with today's Congress, and let future presidents deal with the circumstances and expectations of future voters and members of Congress. Because Obama capitulates to some demands of Republicans today does not mean that future congressional politicians will successfully use future threats to make unreasonable political and economic demands nor does it mean that future Presidents will be required to capitulate with unreasonable politican demands during their times.
The President not only are the times different, but he is different. He is a black president. And while that is considered a good thing and a proud achievement for most Americans, skin color was not something that Tip O'Neil and Ronald Reagan had to deal with. Unless Obama deal properly with present-day circumstances, it may be a long time before a person of color is elected to the presidency, not because the American people will not want one but because of fear that the politician climate not accommodating such diversity.
President Obama must make decisions that are appropriate to these times and rest assured that future presidents and congresses will make decisions deemed appropriate for their times. If the people want universal health care, voters will place control of the presidency and Congress in the hands of Democrats. If a majority of voters don't want it, they will elect Republicans to lead the government, and Obamacare may be overturned.
What the people choose, whether for better or worse, will always represent who Americans--and the people they choose to represent them--are at that time.