Friday, August 21, 2009

Unity? The Post-Partisan Presidency Myth (Updated)

From Jonathan Weisman at the Wall Street Journal:
WASHINGTON -- Barack Obama campaigned last year on a pledge to end the angry partisanship in Washington. He wasn't the first to promise a post-partisan presidency: Both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton offered a similar change, only to see the mutual hostility between Republicans and Democrats increase while they were in the White House.

Now, just as his predecessors did, Mr. Obama is seeing that promise turn to ashes. Angry town-hall meetings, slumping presidential approval poll numbers and rising opposition to his signature health-care proposals suggest an early resumption of politics as usual.

Obama critics say that is an inevitable result of his push for far-reaching liberal polices even as he made undefined offers to win over moderates and conservatives. The White House blames Republicans and conservative media commentators, saying they sought to sow dissent from the start.

One thing both sides agree on: Six months in to Mr. Obama's presidency, a growing core of Americans is turning against the president, including some voters he won over during the campaign.

"I thought he was going to unite us as a country. When I heard, 'There's not a white America, there's not a black America, there are the United States of America,' that resonated with me," said Leah Wolczko, a 42-year-old teacher from Manchester, N.H., who described herself as a political independent who had supported Mr. Obama but failed to vote in November. "But when they start talking specifics, well, now we've got some problems." She objects to what she calls Mr. Obama's big-government, big-spending policies.

Update. Looking for a scapegoat, Obama blames the GOP for his problems with the health care reform proposals. Earth to Obama: The majority of people are incensed over your hell care proposals. The GOP was just as surprised as you are and is following, not leading, the trend.

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