What was so extraordinary about the president’s performance yesterday is that this is the version of himself he’s always tried to keep under wraps. He made his career on sounding reasonable, positioning himself as the middle between two extremes, pretending to afford respect for the arguments of his opponents, and never, ever showing anger. You always knew this was all a pose, but he never fully let loose until yesterday when he vented his rage at and his contempt for his opponents, and after a defeat in the most traditional of all liberal causes, gun control. It’s amazing how he believes that everyone else in Washington engages in politics except for him, even though the way he reacted after Newtown was textbook political exploitation of a tragedy–using the victims and their families to the maximum extent possible and pursuing policy goals that he’d always favored but that wouldn’t have prevented the shooting. In his own mind, he’s the brave and sincere one, and everyone opposed to him is an insincere coward. We already knew all of this about him, but it was revealing all the same.