When his sweeping gun control policies were blocked, President Obama complained that he was “constrained by a system our founders put in place.” Asked about immigration reform during a Google Q&A, he explained, “I’m President, not Emperor of the United States.” Reality compelled him to tell a Telemundo anchor, “I’m not a king.” And talking with Univision, he confessed, “The most important lesson I’ve learned is you can’t change Washington from the inside.

So it’s no shock that, looking back on his presidency, President Obama confessed in a recent interview with GQ that he “didn’t fully appreciate” the work involved in getting things done in Washington until he was president.

Vox editor-in-chief Ezra Klein argues that the hard work of coalition-building is “a common realization that presidents have after taking office,” but we can’t recall a president complaining about being frustrated by constitutional limits in public so very often. Klein himself adds that “Obama has chafed against these limits so much that he’s pushed the limits of his executive authority in some novel ways.” Again, no surprise there.



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