Obama does seem to have what both FDR and Lincoln had, which is the recognition that you have to hold back at times and then wait to come forward.
Once a president gets to the White House, the only audience that is left that really matters is history.
I think after Sandy Hook, when Obama went out, and he talked a lot about gun control and met with the parents, there was a sense that something was going to happen. But then, I guess, the power of special interests was greater than public sentiment.
That is what leadership is all about: staking your ground ahead of where opinion is and convincing people, not simply following the popular opinion of the moment.
The past is not simply the past, but a prism through which the subject filters his own changing self-image.