Obama, The Great Divider When In Office, Lacks The Credibility To Lecture America
“ It did not start with Donald Trump,” former President Barack Obama said last week in his melodramatic speech on the current divisions in American politics. “He is a symptom, not the cause.”
If Obama had stopped there, he might have been right. He was trying to describe American politics as suffering a crisis of “division and resentment and paranoia.” Indeed, it is, and indeed it didn’t start with Trump.
It didn’t start with Obama either. But Obama played a key role in making it much worse than it had been before him. Obama governed as an uncompromising ideologue and a hard partisan for eight years. And his desire to antagonize political enemies, above and beyond the meeting of his policy goals, was a critical factor in the election of President Trump.
If you have ever wondered how someone with a 38 percent approval rating on Election Day could become president, this is an important part of the story. Obama’s unprecedented failure to work with the opposite party in any constructive manner, or even to try, combined with his gratuitous persecution of the politically undesirable, left about half of America with the distinct impression that religious freedom, freedom of speech and association, gun rights, and a number of other constitutional rights would vanish if another Democrat succeeded him.
Obama’s snubbing of GOP lawmakers began with his stimulus package, on which he brushed off their suggestions with a simple rejoinder about the election: “ I won.” Obama then rejected the advice of his chief of staff to chart a more moderate and sustainable course on healthcare reform (a simple Medicaid expansion) that might have drawn Republican votes across the aisle — and which probably would have averted the Democratic defenestration that followed.
Obama also pushed for a completely ruinous partisan bill imposing carbon caps on the U.S. economy. The measure would not have slowed the pace of global warming, but it would have put large numbers of Americans out of work to enjoy the cool weather — especially in the coal-producing regions that he had promised to “bankrupt” during his campaign.