A supplement to Mr. Auden's piece of wisdom is the aphorism, stated in various forms, that when you take a shot at the king, you'd better not miss. Leave him alive, as Congress' Republicans are alive, never mind snapshot polls; leave him steaming and brooding and looking for payback. I wouldn't call that good or sagacious politics, Mr. President.
Not many weeks ago, Obama needed Republican cover for his hastily formed plan to attack Syria. He was receiving such cover when he suddenly called off the whole enterprise. What will he want during some future foreign policy contretemps? And what about domestic policy? Why would Republicans and conservatives negotiate with the man who won't negotiate, or admit that anyone besides himself might have a useful, worthwhile idea?
Obama, whose present approval level in one poll is 37 percent, has squandered in just four and a half years as president any credibility he might have had as a national leader. Leading isn't his style. Commanding is, or throwing his weight around. Do this; do that; wipe that smile off your face; bestow a gentle kiss on my left cordovan-polished shoe.
So far, from helping heal the country's political divisions, as he promised in 2008, Obama has deepened them. And yet, precisely because of it, appears to regard himself as the great tribune and defender of the American people.
After the events of the past two or three weeks, he desperately needs to be that good: if not 50 times better.