Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Our Divisive President

From Democrats Patrick Caddell and Doug Schoen, at WSJ:

Obama Lemon

During the election campaign, Barack Obama sought to appeal to the best instincts of the electorate, to a post-partisan sentiment that he said would reinvigorate our democracy. He ran on a platform of reconciliation—of getting beyond "old labels" of right and left, red and blue states, and forging compromises based on shared values.

President Obama's Inaugural was a hopeful day, with an estimated 1.8 million people on the National Mall celebrating the election of America's first African-American president. The level of enthusiasm, the anticipation and the promise of something better could not have been more palpable.

And yet, it has not been realized. Not at all.

Rather than being a unifier, Mr. Obama has divided America on the basis of race, class and partisanship. Moreover, his cynical approach to governance has encouraged his allies to pursue a similar strategy of racially divisive politics on his behalf.

We have seen the divisive approach under Republican presidents as well—particularly the administrations of Richard Nixon and George W. Bush. It was wrong then, and it is wrong now. By dividing America, Mr. Obama has brought our government to the brink of a crisis of legitimacy, compromising our ability to address our most important policy issues.

We say this with a heavy heart. Both of us share the president's stated vision of what America can and should be. The struggle for equal rights has animated both of our lives. Both of us were forged politically during the crucible of the civil rights movement. Having worked in the South during the civil rights movement, and on behalf of the ground-breaking elections of African-American mayors such as David Dinkins, Harold Washington and Emanuel Cleaver, we were deeply moved by Mr. Obama's election.
More at the link.

I'm still not going with the hypothesis of an intraparty challenge to Obama, especially from an antiwar candidate. Hillary Clinton, for example, is far from the Howard Dean type. She could pose a threat to Obama running as a "unifier" in opposition to this administration. Either way, if the Dems gear up for a primary feud challenging an incumbent president, my sense is that the GOP will reap most of the benefits. That's good for me, although the Republicans need to get their own house in order as well. It's amazing to think that 2012 could be MORE of a crucial election than 2008, but the country got suckered into electing "The One," and now we're paying for it with an ever-deepening national crisis.

See also Jennifer Rubin and Andy McCarthy. (Via Memeorandum.)

Cartoon Credit: Bosch Fawstin.


Opus #6 said...

Boy are we "paying" for it. God help us.

dave in boca said...

Just a quick reference. Back in 1980, I was John Anderson's Middle East Advisor for a while during his "independent" run for POTUS. When Anderson started to get traction, Teddy the Fat decided to jump in.

Ditto in '68 with Eugene McCarthy, who did so well against LBJ that Bobby, Teddy's older brother, decided to jump in.

If even a smallish Dem independent like Jim Webb, for instance, jumps in because of Afghanistan, another bigger Dem might oppose the Zero. My guess is that if JW got traction, it would be Hillary.

Stephen J. said...

"We have seen the divisive approach under Republican presidents as well.... It was wrong then, and it is wrong now."

Rubbish. *All* effective administration is divisive -- dividing the right from the wrong, the good from the bad, the wheat from the chaff, the law-abiding from the criminal, the effective from the ineffective, the functional from the dysfunctional. As long as people can disagree about what goes on which side of the divide, all effective government will appear divisive to *someone*.

If you want to complain about *how* someone was divisive, go ahead; but don't complain that they *are* divisive. There's a word for governments and societies that insist on Unity uber alles: Totalitarian.