Behold President Barack Hussein Obama. A good man. A nice man.
A man of compromise, who believes in the Middle Path - that by making concessions, seeking the humanity in enemies, and working toward common ground one can get opponents to meet you halfway.
Behold a man who loses.
A first-year poly-sci student with a C+ average could've told him that the mere presence of a young black liberal in the White House was going to cause legions of rural/white/Christian-nutcase folk to lose their shit and treat him like an "extremist" no matter what he did. Doubtless, some of his advisors must've told him the same thing (hey, did professional ass-kicker Rahm Emmanuel just up and quit? Hmm...) but he didn't listen.
To be "nice" he didn't simply tell the Pentagon to go fuck itself and rip down DADT when he had the power (re: both houses) to do so. To not seem "extreme" he compromised Healthcare into a toothless near-nothing. What was the response? The Teabaggers - a whole army of organized-idiocy who regarded anything he did as "extremist" and mobilized accordingly. His prize? Gridlock - two years (and counting) of legislative stalling tactics. That's what comes of playing "nice." That's what comes of bringing an olive branch to a knife fight.
The president has been noted to be, amusingly, a fan of Robert E. Howard's "Conan," at least as a comic book. Too bad, it would appear, that he never saw the movie...