BROKEN PROMISES: Part 2 - Crossing the Partisan Divide

Probably the most lofty promise made by Barack Obama during his 2008 run for the presidency was his claim that he would move America past partisan gridlock, work across the aisle, and usher in a new post-partisan era of political progress. 

Here is liberal New York Times’ columnist Mareen Dowd, on the failure of Obama to live up to his promises of crossing the political divide:

“The president had lofty dreams of playing the great convener and conciliator. But at a fund-raiser in Minneapolis, he admitted he’s just another combatant in a capital full of Hatfields and McCoys. No compromises, just nihilism.”

Recently, a study revealed that Obama is not just failing to reduce partisan gridlock, he is the most partisan president in history!

Here is a summary of the article:

President Obama ran — and won — in 2008 on the idea of uniting the country. But each of his first three years in office has marked historic highs in political polarization, with Democrats largely approving of him and Republicans deeply disapproving.

For 2011, Obama’s third year in office, an average of 80 percent of Democrats approved of the job he was doing in Gallup tracking polls, as compared to 12 percent of Republicans who felt the same way. That’s a 68-point partisan gap, the highest for any president’s third year in office — ever. (The previous high was George W. Bush in 2007, when he had a 59 percent difference in job approval ratings.)

So despite the rhetoric and promises in 2008, Obama’s three and a half years as president have not lessened partisanship one bit. In fact, it has gotten worse. In a time of great American turbulence in the economy and abroad, it really is a shame that Obama has broken his promise to be a post-partisan president. 

Admittedly, Republicans have contributed to the problem. Unwillingness to allow a political victory to political opponents remains a major stumbling block in American politics. Gridlock is holding America back and most Americans are tired of it. 

But nevertheless, Obama was naive in his assertion that he could take America past its partisan reality. Such a promise should have been backed up by a strong, realistic plan, rather than just idealistic thinking. Such a promise should have been backed up by a leader with a history of working across the aisle. No such plan or history ever existed with President Obama. 

So, among the broken promises that will become part of Barack Obama’s legacy, one of his most egregious is his promise to break down barriers thwarting bipartisan progress.

(See Part 1 of our ongoing series on Obama’s failed promises to reduce the deficit here.)

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2 Responses to BROKEN PROMISES: Part 2 - Crossing the Partisan Divide

  1. Marc Sigoloff says:

    How can you accuse Obama of breaking a promise, when it was the Republicans who blocked him? He reached out to the other side far more than was necessary, and they refused. They even admitted that is their goal to block him. This is beyond ridiculous.

  2. Jayde Wyatt says:

    Obama is smooth when offering non-partisan nuggets… but what he says and what he does is as far apart as a loon on a lake in Maine and a pelican on Pismo Beach in California.

    Here’s just one refresher… I’ll never forget the many times Obama said he wanted GOP input on Obamacare. Uhuh. When John Boehner and Eric Cantor came to meetings, the doors were locked! Yes, barred shut.

    How’s that for reaching out?

    There is more.

    That’s why Ben’s post is a part of a series.