The New Obama comes with a ready made political narrative -- Obama's best chance to get something done is to be forceful and gain public support for tax hikes on the rich. Afterall, Obama has tried working with the Republicans and agreeing to concessions, so now he must stay strong and back Republicans into a corner.
This narrative assumes that a majority of Americans will respond emotionally to the rich paying far more to fund government spending. It assumes that the public isn't really against government spending as long as the rich pay for it. If this narrative is true, then nothing has changed, because this has been the case with the public for a long time -- give me mine and let someone else pay for it, and who better to pay for it than the filthy rich, except it's not only the filthy rich who'll be paying. Small business owners will pay too, and this means that fewer jobs are created, and, thus, everyone gets hurt, unless the middle class and the poor are satisfied living off government welfare.
You can't continue a situation where more and more money is confiscated from the private sector and have economic growth, expansion and job creation -- you can't have both. The public has to choose one or the other -- does the public want economic expansion and new jobs, or does the public want stagnation tilting toward decline, high unemployment and welfare benefits? The New Obama is just the same old Progressive we've seen since FDR through LBJ, Carter and Clinton, the Left's version of statism which has competed against Right statism from Nixon through Bush. The only thing "new" is that now we're at a tipping point, and we can't play the statist game any longer without the type of financial crisis which invites authoritarian rule and loss of freedom.