The outlines of President Obama’s political strategy are clear—to unleash, virtually on a daily basis, a series of dishonest and libelous attacks on Republicans while also coming across as likable, reasonable, a man who hovers above the political mud, a president ever in search of common ground.
Obama’s budget speech last week contained both elements. On the one hand, he portrayed the GOP vision as Hobbesian—crumbling roads and collapsing bridges, the elderly and children with autism and Down’s Syndrome left to fend for themselves. Having leveled those charges, Obama spoke at the end of his speech about the need to “come together,” insisting that we need to “bridge our differences” and “find common ground.”
As a political approach, this qualifies as bipolar. Obama’s slashing rhetoric is at war with his post-partisan, conciliatory, and civil image. The two are irreconcilable. And because they are, the two-direction course that Obama is pursuing can only reveal his extraordinary fraudulence. Obama has been president since January 2009; he has proven himself to be at his core prickly, arrogant, ideological, and prone to thuggish tactics. It isn’t pretty and it isn’t impressive—and for the sake of our politics, one can only hope it isn’t the path to reelection.