Obama has no hope to fix fractured America
By Michael Goodwin
November 24, 2013 | 5:58am
As he climbed the political heap, a young Barack Obama roused audiences with promises to unite the nation. He was a Senate candidate in 2004 when he told the Democratic national convention, “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is a United States of America.”
In 2007, he declared early in his presidential run that “I don’t want to pit red America against blue America. I want to be the president of the United States of America.”
A year later, after he won the Iowa caucus, he promised, “We are not a collection of red states and blue states. We are the United States of America.”
And on the November night in 2008 when he was elected president, he insisted his victory proved “we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and always will be, the United States of America.”
Oh, well, that was then. Reading those “yes we can” speeches now is like gawking at museum relics. Obama’s promise to heal a polarized nation has proven to be as big a lie as his promise that you can keep your health insurance.
America is now so divided and demoralized that there is no hope Obama can fix it. As last week proved, he doesn’t even pretend to try any more.
On the same day that he supported his party’s move to neuter Republican power in the Senate by restricting the filibuster, 37 news organizations complained that the White House was acting like the Soviet Union in manipulating public opinion.
Journalists argued that Obama aides block news photographers from official events, then use government workers to take pictures and videos of him for social-media sites.
“This is just like Tass,” a New York Times photographer told his paper, referring to the Soviet propaganda arm. “It’s like government-controlled use of the public image of the president.”
Meanwhile, Obama met with a gaggle of far-left pundits to drum up support as he battles record-low polls.
The developments are snapshots in the collapse of a presidency.
More and more people are realizing that Obama’s idea of unity is that everybody must agree with him, and that he has no tolerance for those who don’t. Yet he responds to this awakening by digging himself deeper into a partisan hole. Step away from the shovel, Mr. President.
Historians, I believe, will conclude that his refusal to roll up his sleeves and honestly engage critics was a character flaw that morphed into a political strategy. Despite the flowery promises to unite the country, or maybe because of them, he boxed himself into a pose of being above politics. His aggrandizing self-regard and contempt for others leaves him incapable of routine compromise.
Confronted with problems, he defaults to one of two options: total domination or total surrender. The result is that he is a Caesar wannabe at home and a Chamberlain abroad. As he stiff-arms Republicans and most of the media, he seems ready to accept a nuclear-armed Iran.
Even as his support falls below 40 percent and a majority say they don’t trust him, he paints himself as the victim.
He defended his party’s decision to end the long Senate tradition of requiring 60 votes for most appointments by saying Republicans are determined to “obstruct everything . . . Just to refight the results of an election.”
See, it’s all about him. Never mind that other presidents struggled with the same rules. Never mind that opponents, including some Democrats, have legitimate differences with him and want him to work harder to build a consensus for the good of the country.
And never mind his obvious hypocrisy on changing the rules. In his first year in the Senate, with the GOP holding the majority, he warned that one-party rule would mean “the bitterness and the gridlock will only get worse.”
That Barack Obama was a man to admire. He made history by promising to restore Americans’ trust in each other and their government.
“I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree,” he vowed on election night in 2008.
Five years later, Americans finally are being honest with themselves.
They now realize that Barack Obama doesn’t exist anymore, if he ever did.