Good Peggy Noonan. BO pretty much managed to alienate everyone on the tax deal -- which I'd argue isn't all that surprising for an anti-colonialist in a colonizing nation.
A failed Community Organizer isn't going to know how to be President, so up to now, he let Nancy and Harry drive. It is now clear they politically drove him in a ditch, so now he has decided to drive -- but of course he has never driven anything, not even a lemonade stand, so it is unsurprising that his lack of driving skills is painfully obvious to all sides!
The president must have thought that distancing himself from left and right would make him more attractive to the center. But you get credit for going to the center only if you say the centrist position you've just embraced is right. If you suggest, as the president did, that the seemingly moderate plan you agreed to is awful and you'll try to rescind it in two years, you won't leave the center thinking, "He's our guy!" You'll leave them thinking, "Note to self: Remove Obama in two years."