The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Paying the Price

Patrick Caddell and Douglas Schoen, lifelong liberal Democrats who served in the Carter and Clinton administrations respectively, are representative of a growing number of center-Left political operatives who have begun asking fundamental questions about Barack Obama and his administration.

In an op-ed entitled “Our Divisive President” and published in The Wall Street Journal, Caddell and Schoen accuse the President of practicing devisive politics after running “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.” They write:
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.

When it’s a justice department that refuses to aggressively prosecute clear acts of black on white voter intimidation or a President who initiates class warfare at every opportunity, the administration employs a cynical, Chicago-style politics at every opportunity. The problem is that Barack Obama is not mayor of Chicago, he’s President of the United States. Caddell and Schoen comment on this when they write:
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.

There’s nothing unique about the President’s approach, and that’s the point. Although he promised much more, Barack Obama is nothing more that a cynical politician and an ineffective, inexperienced and wholly ideological one at that.

Pat Cadell and Doug Schoen argue that:
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.

We’re already paying a steep price and learning quickly that we’ve gotten no bargain.