Tuesday, August 3, 2010

prominent Dems accuse Obama of divisiveness

In the WSJ, Patrick Caddell and Douglas Schoen, two prominent Democratic pollsters, who weigh in with their regrets about the divisiveness of the Obama presidency...

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....

The first hint that as president Mr. Obama would be willing to interject race into the political dialogue came last July, when he jumped to conclusions about the confrontation between Harvard Prof. Henry Louis "Skip" Gates and the Cambridge police...

From there, they discuss illegal immigration and the "New Black Panther Party" incident.

Mr. Obama has also cynically divided the country on class lines. He has taken to playing the populist card time and time again. He bashes Wall Street and insurance companies whenever convenient to advance his programs, yet he has been eager to accept campaign contributions and negotiate with these very same banks and corporations behind closed doors in order to advance his political agenda.

Finally, President Obama also exacerbated partisan division, and he has made it clear that he intends to demonize the Republicans and former President George W. Bush in the fall campaign...

President Obama's divisive approach to governance has weakened us as a people and paralyzed our political culture. Meanwhile, the Republican leadership has failed to put forth an agenda that is more positive, unifying or inclusive. We are stronger when we debate issues and purpose, and we are all weaker when we divide by race and class. We will pay a price for this type of politics.


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