What Would They Do if They Weren’t Campaigning?

Karl Rove details the litany of half-truths, exaggerations, and hardball attacks coming from the president’s team, and advises:

Team Obama is suffering from Extended Campaign Syndrome. In an election, campaign staffers are often just trying to survive until the next week or the next primary. They cut corners because they are fatigued or under pressure. They can be purposely combative and even portray critics as enemies.

All this is true, and equally so is that this is simply what Obama and his team do. In fact, it is all they do. Obama has no record and apparently no interest in devising complex legislation himself. He has no interest in modifying the liberal wish list so as to incorporate his opponents’ ideas or address their concerns. He doesn’t much care about bipartisanship. He’s been clear: he won, and he’s not about to let opponents or voters (or facts, for that matter) slow him down.

Since Inauguration Day he, more than any president in recent memory, has played a hyper-partisan brand of attack politics. George W. Bush is the object of perpetual scorn and blame. Robert Gibbs attacked media figures and attempted to “Limbaugh-ize” the GOP. The Republicans were labeled as obstructionists—even as their suggestions were given the back of the hand.

We elected a man whose greatest achievements were not legislative but campaigns. The Democrats selected someone who outmuscled the Clintons. We should therefore have expected a White House that treats citizens as stooges, opponents with contempt, and the Oval Office as just another war room. Some might have hoped Obama would grow while in office. But instead, he’s simply become more of who he has always been—a Chicago pol with some extraordinarily slick packaging.