In 2008 Barack Obama predicated his campaign not on a set of policies but on what might be called a political aesthetic. He would do away with what he called the “50 plus one” style of governing. He would “turn the page” on the “old politics” of division and anger and end a politics that “breeds division and conflict and cynicism.” Mr. Obama would help us to “rediscover our bonds to each other and … get out of this constant petty bickering that’s come to characterize our politics.” In the Age of Obama the Red State wolf would dwell with the Blue State lamb, and all would be right with the world.
What a shame it turned out to be utter fiction.
The Apostle of Hope and Change turns out to be the most polarizing president of modern times, at least according to the Gallup organization. The president’s fourth year in office was the most polarizing since Gallup began asking that question during the Eisenhower presidency. He now holds five of the top 10 most polarizing slots. Barack Obama is to polarization what Peyton Manning is to NFL passing records.
Some of this is surely a product of the times in which we live. But a lot of it is the result of Mr. Obama’s divisive and unusually ruthless tactics. He took a polarized country and deepened its divisions. It will take a long time, and a special successor, to begin to unwind all the damage this man has done.