The second election victory has emboldened the president. He doesn't have to compromise, or even negotiate in good faith with the other side about getting a deal on big issues like spending.
In one part of his inaugural speech, Obama rejected steep cuts in entitlement programs, but in the very next paragraph he promised to take on climate change because "failure to do so would betray our children and future generations."
If the president is a believer in the science of global warming why isn't he also a believer in the simple math of debt?
Barack Obama is being true to his progressive ideology, and that inspires the faithful who were kept under foot during the Bush years, but there's no joy in his fight.
It makes one long for the days of the Happy Warrior Hubert Humphrey, the sunny optimism of Ronald Reagan or the profound likability of Bill Clinton.
In the very first sentence of his inaugural address, President John Kennedy said, "We observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom."
Kennedy understood that after the narrowest of victories, it was inappropriate to spike the ball.
President Obama didn't gloat on Monday, but he did signal that he's primed for bloody political fights ahead.
There will be no binding up the nation's wounds over the next four years.
Kercheval is host of TalkLine, broadcast by the MetroNews Statewide Radio Network from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. The show can be heard locally on WCHS 580 AM.