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President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton appear together in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House for statements and to answer questions from the media, December 10, 2010.
No president is immune from partisanship and partisan atitudes.
No president, it seems to me, can escape politics - JFK
The Post Partisan Unity Schtick as a "demonstration project" (demonstrating Obama is the "adult in the room" and the GOP is why we can't "come together") is not a success:
[T]he country is split literally down the middle on Obama’s ability to unite/divide it is a telling indication that the man who pledged he could change Washington has struggled mightily to make good on that promise.
The numbers in the WaPo poll:
Forty-seven percent of Americans say that Obama has done more to unite the country during his time in office while 45 percent say he has done more to divide it — a statistically insignificant difference. Among registered voters, it’s 47 percent uniter and 47 percent divider.
This should surprise precisely no one.

But it does make ridiculous the claim that Obama's Post Partisan Unity Schtick was an effective demonstration of how Republicans are the problem when it comes to bipartisanship. I suppose some might point to the 49-43 numbers in favor of the president among independents but my view is that is a function of overall approval, which for the president is 51 percent.

I suppose one could argue that Obama would be doing even worse on this measure (which begs the question of how much does it matter to be viewed as a uniter anyway?) but that is unconvincing, at least to me.

In any event, as a defense of the Post Partisan Unity Schtick, it seems like thin gruel, at best, to me. I think Sean Wilentz's citing of JFK is instructive:

President Kennedy is sometimes cited as an anti-partisan who held party hacks in disdain—or so a few liberal writers and historians such as James MacGregor Burns have persuaded themselves. But Kennedy relished being his party’s chieftain, and astutely understood the imperatives of party and party leadership, which he explained as well as anyone has. “No president, it seems to me, can escape politics,” Kennedy observed in 1960, as he began his quest for the Democratic presidential nomination. “He has not only been chosen by the nation—he has been chosen by his party. And if he insists that he is ‘president of all the people’ and should, therefore, offend none of them—if he blurs the issues and differences between the parties—if he neglects the party machinery and avoids his party’s leadership—then he has not only weakened the political party as an instrument of the democratic process—he has dealt a blow to the democratic process itself.” Kennedy went on to say that he preferred the example of Abraham Lincoln, “who loved politics with the passion of a born practitioner.”
 

Originally posted to Armando on Tue May 21, 2013 at 06:48 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I think I've pointed out on more than one (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell, dougymi, BroadwayBaby1, wu ming

    occasion, on the front page, that the "independents" are a myth. The amount of actual, true, independent could swing both ways voters is perhaps 1 or 2%. The vast majority of so-called independents are in fact clearly ideological but reject party labels. There is really no point in appealing to them with, as Armando says, "post-partisan unity schtick" because these people have very clear views which almost always leads them to prefer one party over the other consistently when they get to the ballot box. Instead, push their buttons by running to your base, because that's what moves their votes. Clear distinctions, not blurring the lines.

    I was one of those who thought the presidents "no Republicans no Democrats" twaddle to be more about fundraising from elites than any sort of governing philosophy. On that point I was quite wrong. He actually does try to govern as if they country's clear preferences shown through voting doesn't really matter to him.

    •  I should also point out that a lot of people (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dougymi, TJ, wu ming, Heftysmurf

      confuse independents and moderates. I've pointed this out on the FP too. This is truly, truly wrong as the data indicates. The moderates, or people who are not particularly ideological but are just sort of 'good government' types, or folks fiscally conservative but socially liberal... those folks are now almost all uniformly Democrats. The Democratic Party IS the moderate party.

      There are no moderate Republicans. It is a party that has a Conservative wing and a crazy batshit radical wing. There is no point at all in trying to cross party lines and build coalitions with Republican politicians because they are beholden to a Conservative/Radical electorate. Independents know that and so do moderates. So really, who actually will be impressed by post-partisan schtick?

      The Washington elite and just about nobody else.

      •  I think you are correct about moderates (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        there definitely is a group that is fiscally moderate to conservative, and at the same time socially progressive.  And I think whichever party captures that vote has a far better chance of being the majority party. I do not think that there is a majority in this country that is either all hard-right conservative on all issues, or all hard-left progressive on all issues.  Democrats need to appeal to these moderate voters if they want to have a governing majority over the long term.  That is what Bill Clinton did well, I think.  

        I also see a growing number of young people who tend to be Libertarian -- with the view that they want government, especially the federal government, to be less obtrusive in the lives of the citizens, both on the economic side and on the social issues side.  That vote is kind of "up for grabs," as this group may support Conservative fiscal issues and Progressive social issues.  

        I think where I differ from some here (perhaps including you?) is I think that if a party wants a governing majority, that party needs to bring in those moderate voters.  Some people here have no use for moderates.  

        •  Democrats don't need to appeal to them. (0+ / 0-)

          They are them. The Republicans doesn't have a socially liberal but fiscally conservative wing. Only the Democrats do. Democrats don't need to appeal to those people because they are those people already. All the data analysis I've read so far proved the theory I had correct in early 2010 when I wrote about it.

          So yes, you do disagree with me because the Democratic party already has those people. In fact, they are the majority of Democrats and that is reflected in the vote. Progressive Democrats are a minority in the Democratic party. So the party is already positioned to win that vote and wins it all routinely. Go look at the date on how self-proclaimed moderates vote. Democrats across the board.

          Where I disagree with you is in going beyond the moderates to keep reaching for conservative Republicans who keep moving further and further to the right. Those are votes I say we cannot ever win and in the meantime we keep giving away elements of our agenda that appeal to both progressives and moderates. My view is not to keep appealing to people we can't win (ruining our agenda and justification to govern), and instead, fight them.

          •  I think some in the Republican group (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib

            are trying to appeal to the "socially liberal but fiscally conservative" crowd.  That's the Libertarians.  For example, they generally reject government telling people who they can marry and also reject government telling people how they have to spend their money.  

            And while I agree that some of the Democratic party is moderate in the sense of socially liberal but fiscally conservative, those kinds of people are often berated around here.  And many around here want them out of the party or at least primaried.  

            •  Libertarians even smaller than liberals. (0+ / 0-)

              Libertarians are basically nobody. They've got bigger voices than they have votes. And their social liberalism is secondary to who they are, which is why they routinely side with Republicans. In the Republican Party, it is social conservatives who have the votes. Ron Paul made a lot of noise, but never got above 10% in a Republican primary. And even then only in very small rural states.

              Second, yes those people are berated around her because...well, they're wrong. But Daily Kos routinely has supported candidates far more moderate than our members for the good health of the party. That doesn't mean they are going to be with us on everything, but we still would prefer them to a Republican. However, there are certain things that are non-negotiable. Like Social Security. That's just fundamental to who we are. We are the party of Social Security and Medicare. And Civil Rights & Voting Rights. And now Gay rights. So if you're against any of that, well then you're in the wrong party. Tent ain't that big.

              Finally, even our moderates have to be pushed in the right direction because, well, they're wrong. If we don't push them, you can rest assured Republicans have and will continue to push them to increasingly Conservative policies. That has been the history of the Democratic Party until Daily Kos and others came along and started pushing back. And that's been GOOD for Democrats. Both ideologically and electorally. Fact is, the party establishment is far more conservative than its base. From years and years of cowering in fear of the GOP, a more assertive and partisan form of Democrat is necessary to make sure the party actually represents ALL of its members, not just the moderates.

              •  Only Audible Because Amplified By Billionaires nt (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                happymisanthropy, 3goldens, Faito, quill

                We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

                by Gooserock on Sat May 25, 2013 at 07:31:28 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I wish I could rec this 1,000 times: (13+ / 0-)
                Fact is, the party establishment is far more conservative than its base. From years and years of cowering in fear of the GOP, a more assertive and partisan form of Democrat is necessary to make sure the party actually represents ALL of its members, not just the moderates.
                (But for some strange reason, I can't rec this comment at all.)

                "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

                by FogCityJohn on Sat May 25, 2013 at 07:49:48 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Love your comment brooklynbadboy, you have (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sebastianguy99, Ishmaelbychoice

                hit the nail on the proverbial head. Sorry I can't rec it though, since today is Saturday and your comment was on Tuesday.

                "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy -7.8., -6.6

                by helpImdrowning on Sat May 25, 2013 at 09:59:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Libertarianism is dangerous though, imo, because (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                METAL TREK

                so many young people are taken in by it.  This is our (Dems, progressives) future demographic and we shouldn't risk losing them on obviously stupid positions like enforcing ancient pot laws.

                Ron Paul's appeal was very strong to young folks but many were not yet voters.  That will change.  Before it does we should end the drug war, at least on marijuana.

                RP's other big issue - ending the Empire - is more difficult and politically problematic.  But both are a cover for corporate deregulation and ending progressive government programs, the real agenda of the Kochs and their father, Cato, etc.  

                Exasperation current politics makes this more dangerous.  Legalizing pot would go a long way towards diffusing this, imo.

          •  Do you have any proof that progressive Dems (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            3goldens, Laconic Lib

            "are a minority in the Democratic Party"? I know it's convenient to believe so and say so, since progressive ideas get so little traction. But I think that the number of Dems who favor increasing taxes on the top 10% (surely a core progressive principle) is higher than the number of Dems who favor keeping those taxes the same or (ugh!) reducing them.

            However, that is merely my gut speaking. I have no data to back up my gut.

        •  Now you've done it (0+ / 0-)

          You pushed my false equivalence button.

          I do not think that there is a majority in this country that is either all hard-right conservative on all issues, or all hard-left progressive on all issues.
          We truly do have hard-right conservatives. I doubt very strongly that there's any such animal as a hard-left progressive.

          The term "progressive" isn't restricted to the political left or right and the implication that progressives are left wing belies the definition of the word.

          Speaking as one who was once a Republican and still admires the progressive Republicans from my youth, I hate to see the language distorted in that manner.

          Please allow me to speak very plainly on this issue. This kind of talk pisses me off.

          Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

          by Just Bob on Sat May 25, 2013 at 09:35:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  For 14 years (0+ / 0-)

      I was a registered independent.  (I still consider myself a progressive and not a Democrat although I usually vote for the Dem.)  I changed my registration to I could vote in my state's primaries.

    •  Sure it is, if you use a ridiculous definition of (0+ / 0-)

      independent --- ie, people  with no opinions, no principles, and no preferences.

      That is not the appropriate definition, but it is what most people use when they claim there are few independents.

      The reality is that most independents do have beliefs and opinions.  A natural result of that will be a party lean, at least to the extent that  parties have position.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Sun May 26, 2013 at 03:52:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Everytime Obama's on the ballot, the party (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sunbro, TopCat, Heftysmurf

    does well; so I'm puzzled by those who suggest he's weakened the party. I'm also puzzled by those who insist, on the one hand, that Republican extremists won't like him no matter what, and that nonetheless place blame for their intrasience at his feet. If a bunch of bigots won't like him no matter what, then how is it his fault that the country's still divided? Why is his "schtick" failed when it had no chance for success?

    Also, why are Obama's overtures to unity so important relative to what he's done? Does anyone believe Republicans think he's governed from the middle? If anything, his "schtick" is designed to broaden the appeal of a decidedly center-left agenda. When one considers that the public broadly supports many of the administration's policy initiatives, I'd say that his schtick has been a success in that sense.

    I really don't understand why this "schtick" is a useful criteria to measure his effectiveness. After all, Bush governed like a partisan, but the idea that he strengthened his party is laughable. In fact, the fact that Bush barely won re-election strongly suggests what I've long maintained: that governing like a partisan in a divided country is costly. Those of you frustrated with Obama's conciliation have yet to demonstrate that governing as a partisan in this context would be a net positive.

    I'm sorry Armando. I really don't understand what you're trying to get at here. I appreciate the fact that many here are frustrated with what they see as his over-conciliation. But to imply that that's weakened the party (which is what your citation of Kennedy does) doesn't make sense. There's really no data for it.

    •  You can't deny (0+ / 0-)

      You can't deny the president's personal charisma.  He is a compelling person to watch.  

      Therefore, it shouldn't come as any surprise the party does well when he's on the ticket.  

      When he isn't on the ticket, such as 2010, the party lost big.

      Was that due to Obama not being on the ballot?  I don't know.  

      Was it due to a sense Obama failed to accomplish what he set out in the 2008 campaign by moving right?    Maybe leaning to possible.  

      However, and this is strictly my opinion, many new Democrats are supporting and voting for the Democratic party of FDR.  They are not "new Democrats" in the DLC sense.  How this will translate into Democratic party support for the future is anybody's guess.  If Democrats continue to move away from the traditional Democratic values, those new Democrats will start to look elsewhere.  

      Politics is fluid.  I don't anticipate the GOP continuing down the road of implosion forever.  

      •  What is the Democratic Party of FDR? (0+ / 0-)

        The Democratic Party that passed Social Security which only covered women and orphans? If Obamacare only covered women and orphans, you'd be screaming he betrayed the legacy of FDR.

        President Obama has expanded the New Deal by passing Health Care reform. There's no denying that. People who argue that a concession to Republicans that's less regressive than Clinton's outright tax on Social Security benefits, or Carter's decision to cut them need to read a history book. Neither Clinton nor Carter passed any legislation to expand the New Deal, and Democrats did not abandon ship. The idea that Democrats are going to desert the first President to pass health care reform doesn't pass the laugh test.

      •  one of the reasons the party lost big in 2010 (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kat68, Nimbus

        was because people felt there hadn't been a quick enough recovery from the implosion of our economy, so they decided (the small number who voted, that is) to "throw the bums out."  If Obama had been on the ticket, he, too, might have lost.  Same reason.

        "Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don’t pretend to understand." ~ Atticus Finch, "To Kill a Mockingbird"

        by SottoVoce on Sat May 25, 2013 at 08:22:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Couldn't agree more (0+ / 0-)

      I haven't seen an data to suggest that if Obama was less concilatory and more partisan he would have been more effective.

      Don't get me wrong I'm ready for a more partisan President in 2016 but I do think the President's style has cleared ALOT of space for the next Dem to be much more combative.

      •  What's amazing to me (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        METAL TREK, Tony Situ, Onomastic

        is how many Republicans will whine that BHO is a "my way or the highway" type of president.  

        •  This President IS divisive (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tony Situ, Onomastic

          if he'd only he'd just stop being such a BLACK Kenyan Muslim Nazi Mao Fascist Gay Gun Grabbing Statist & just GIVE the Republicans EVERYTHING they want, he'd be a lot LESS divisive.*

          *This is what passes for Republican "logic" these days.

          A village can not reorganize village life to suit the village idiot.

          by METAL TREK on Sun May 26, 2013 at 08:59:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I think POTUS is a pragmatist without much of a (0+ / 0-)

        philosophical anchor.  Pragmatism for pragmatism's sake along with being a total process guy.  He thought he could gather everyone in a room and their input could be crafted into logical solutions.  He wasn't prepared for the hatred of a wounded and dying Repug party and the need, in response, for promotion of Democratic Party ideals.  We needed to be persuaded of far more than his example of being the only adult in the room.  We needed to know that we could follow him to a better place.
        As it is, he hasn't even sold his own health care program.

        Putting the fun back in dysfunctional.

        by hawkseye on Sun May 26, 2013 at 03:24:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Center left agenda? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gooserock, TracieLynn

      You're kidding, right?

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Sat May 25, 2013 at 07:09:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Since I can't rec for some reason, I'll say it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      duhban, Matt Z

      here. Rec'd.

      "They come, they come To build a wall between us We know they won't win."--Crowded House, "Don't Dream It's Over."

      by Wildthumb on Sat May 25, 2013 at 07:38:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Two points: (8+ / 0-)
      After all, Bush governed like a partisan, but the idea that he strengthened his party is laughable. In fact, the fact that Bush barely won re-election strongly suggests what I've long maintained: that governing like a partisan in a divided country is costly.  Those of you frustrated with Obama's conciliation have yet to demonstrate that governing as a partisan in this context would be a net positive.
      The difference is that Bush pushed policies that were and remain unpopular.  The Republicans' actual policy stances don't poll well.  The Democrats' do.  So if a Democratic president governed like a partisan, s/he would be pushing an agenda far more likely to capture majority support.

      Of course, that would necessarily mean offending some people.  Any such Democratic president would be hated intensely on the right, just as FDR was during his presidency.  But in politics, you simply can't please everyone.  Nor should you try.  

      Last on this point, it would be difficult if not impossible to demonstrate that governing like a partisan would be a net positive.  There's no way to know unless it's tried.  

      I'm also puzzled by those who insist, on the one hand, that Republican extremists won't like him no matter what, and that nonetheless place blame for their intrasience at his feet. If a bunch of bigots won't like him no matter what, then how is it his fault that the country's still divided? Why is his "schtick" failed when it had no chance for success?
      You'd have to ask Armando exactly what he meant, but I don't think he's arguing that it's Obama's fault that the country is divided.  My reading of the diary is that it's time for the president to recognize that, indeed, Republican extremists are never going to like him no matter what he does, so he should feel free to give up the post-partisan unity schtick and push his own party's policies, even when that offends Republicans.

      If that's what Armando is saying, I agree.  The Republicans have been calling Obama a socialist from day one, even though there's nothing in the president's agenda that even remotely resembles socialism.  So if you're going to be called a socialist anyway, you might as well give the people a little socialism (or the inevitably watered down American equivalent).  America's most "socialist" programs are also its most popular -- Social Security and Medicare.  

      The president isn't responsible for the divisions in the country.  The Republicans will never accept the legitimacy of any Democratic president, and that's doubly true of a black Democratic president.  Given that reality, "uniting the country" simply isn't possible.  The question then becomes what you do in the face of that fact.  In my view, you take the majority you won and use it to the best of your ability.  If Republicans block you, blame them, repeatedly and by name.  Then let the voters decide who's right.

      "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

      by FogCityJohn on Sat May 25, 2013 at 08:07:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Failed To Unite US With Another Pointless War (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sunbro

    If Romney had won he would have started two wars by now.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Tue May 21, 2013 at 08:01:30 AM PDT

  •  Dick Cheney's biggest disappointment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sunbro

    from his time as the (undisclosed,but real enough) POTUS was that he too failed at unifying the country and ending bipartisan rancor.

    What possibly could be the problem here?  

    •  Isn't Bush really (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TracieLynn

      upset over his failed efforts to unite everyone, too?  I'm sure I've seen him on numerous occasions bemoaning his failures at bi-partisanship. ;)

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Sat May 25, 2013 at 07:11:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe I'm getting senile (0+ / 0-)

    Maybe I'm getting senile, but the overwhelming theme of both Obama campaigns were change such as "Change you can believe in".  The theme was not "let's hold hands and get along".  

    Maybe that's the problem:  Obama campaigned one way and governed another.  

    •  Yep you're senile (0+ / 0-)

      he has accomplished more than the last two Republican Presidents, had two clean up significant injustices from the last two admin. and deal with an economic depression from the last admin.; with a historical do nothing CONgress and while being the Jackie Robinson of Presidents.

    •  I thought the overarching theme (0+ / 0-)

      in 2008 was post-partisanship. I brought into the possibility. The Republicans mocked the very idea that unity was possible to the point of walking away from their own ideas.

       The Obama-era has disabused me and I think millions of other center-left to progressive people that unity and even compromise is possible with Republicans.

       It's a battle to the death for America's soul. Republicans spiting in the eye of Obama's magnanimous and conciliatory nature and putting up the black flag has made that quite clear.

       It's not the Presidency I expected from Obama nevertheless I thank the President for exposing clearly what the GOP is in a way that a partisan Democrat wouldn't have been able to.

      •  Honestly (0+ / 0-)
        The Obama-era has disabused me and I think millions of other center-left to progressive people that unity and even compromise is possible with Republicans.
        What in the name of all that's holy gave anyone the impression the GOP was going to compromise with a Democrat?  The only reason the GOP "compromised" with Bill Clinton because their agenda was his agenda.  And they still impeached him.  

         

        It's a battle to the death for America's soul. Republicans spiting in the eye of Obama's magnanimous and conciliatory nature and putting up the black flag has made that quite clear.
        That battle has been going on since the Reagan administration.  It didn't start with Obama.  
        I thank the President for exposing clearly what the GOP is in a way that a partisan Democrat wouldn't have been able to.
        With all due respect, it took Obama for us to see the real GOP?  Seriously?  Like none of us suspected it during the Clinton administration?  

        Sorry, but I don't thank Obama for being foolish enough to think he was going to make the difference with the GOP.  

    •  IMO (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TracieLynn, kat68

      Obama hit several barriers, but I think the primary one was his profound realization that he really didn't have the military on his side. And there are many other barriers that are directly related to him simply being black. And I'm sure more than a few Democrats sat him down and let him know how the system really works.

      I know what Obama is doing. I see how he subtly and slowly destroys republicans with logic. He's profoundly intelligent and savvy. And I try to cut him some slack. I try very hard. He got kudos from me yesterday for allowing a heckler to speak. But there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about that dirt bag calling the president a liar during the SOTU. That still shocks me. What an insult that was to the president and the millions who voted for him. And because of that I wish he would take the gloves off and put the slick behavior aside.

      I don't want the president to be a uniter. I find these polls completely pointless.

      I support the two-state solution: for the USA.

      by plok on Sat May 25, 2013 at 08:02:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A lot of people are still smarting.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sebastianguy99, Tony Situ

      ....over the 2008 primaries, where Obama talked about working across the aisle and Hillary said 'no.'

      Yeah, they can't seem to get past it.

  •  Armando has been hi-jacked. (0+ / 0-)
  •  pardon me, I'm an independent (9+ / 0-)

    and not a libertarian or whatnot.

    I left the Democratic party because they can't stop selling out to Republicans.

    And Democrats can't stop making excuses.

  •  Post-partisanism *was* a big success! (7+ / 0-)

    It successfully frittered away the danger of meaningful changes people wanted after the 2008 collapse -- changes that would have cost the Owners money. That's exactly what post-partisanism was supposed to do: protect the Owners' pocketbooks.

  •  Unifying only works are certain times. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, kovie, MrJayTee

    In some time periods the two major parties have both liberal and conservative wings. During those times, unifying works.

    When the parties are very ideologically divided unifying doesn't work.

    -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)!

    by dopper0189 on Sat May 25, 2013 at 07:28:43 PM PDT

  •  What Is The Virtue Of Unity In Politics? (7+ / 0-)

    I've never exactly gotten where the shock and disappointment among the media & public that in politics there are multiple viewpoints and sometimes the people that hold those viewpoints disagree with each other.

    Furthermore, any politician that claims they can change the very nature of politics in Washington while playing the game of politics is the equivalent of Harold Hill claiming he can solve the trouble in River City.

    Beyond that, most of the legislative "compromises" between both parties are muddled messes that allows both parties to look "unified" and pass something that has been so watered down to be a waste.

  •  Wow. Big surprise. Country divided on Obama. (4+ / 0-)

    I'm shocked. And also yawning.

    "They come, they come To build a wall between us We know they won't win."--Crowded House, "Don't Dream It's Over."

    by Wildthumb on Sat May 25, 2013 at 07:41:47 PM PDT

  •  What do you wanna bet the people who say he's (3+ / 0-)

    a uniter are 80+% Dems and the people who say he's a divider are 80+% Republicans?

    ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

    by James Allen on Sat May 25, 2013 at 07:46:03 PM PDT

  •  <snark> Kennedy obviously never read (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SouthernLiberalinMD, TracieLynn

    'Team of Rivals', and some have the temerity to claim Kennedy was well read.

    I am once again wowed by your ability to pick apart and historically question... grievously damage cultish or short sighted arguments you profoundly disagree with :)

  •  Breaking over at CNN: (9+ / 0-)

    Sources: Executives informed three years ago of Fox News phone records subpoena

    The Fox News executive said the company was notified of the phone records search, but “it never said anything about searching James Rosen’s email.”
    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/...

    Now that they're busted with breaking news that the DoJ did in fact notify them three years ago, they're trying to say it was only for phone records not emails.  Yeah right.  Quit while you're behind.

    My heroes have the heart to live the life I want to live.

    by JLFinch on Sat May 25, 2013 at 07:59:45 PM PDT

    •  And many on the Left stood easily with them (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tony Situ

      I didn't see many people asking questions of Fox's account of events. Maybe this time we'll learn to always question Fox even if it seems they are in the right. In fact, we should check even more if they appear in the right.

      Now I wonder if people will be vocal about their deception or ignore it in order to still appear to be standing on completely righteous principle?

      The politicians may be bought, and the system corrupt, but it is our duty to fix these things.

      by sebastianguy99 on Sat May 25, 2013 at 11:28:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm sorry, but this is silly (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sebastianguy99, Matt Z, Jeff Simpson

    That was a completely bullshit question. It can only be answered on an issue specific basis.

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Sat May 25, 2013 at 08:30:02 PM PDT

  •  What a stupid poll. Why? (5+ / 0-)

    It takes two to tango. The question should have been "Who has made more good faith efforts toward uniting the country -- The President or the House Republicans?"

    If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

    by Bensdad on Sat May 25, 2013 at 08:35:15 PM PDT

  •  We're divided on whether we're divided (0+ / 0-)

    Well, so much for Kumbaya as a governing philosophy. Hell, it's not even that great as music or spiritual inspiration. But then I didn't grow up in the 60's. And even those who did, or who MADE they 60's what they were, know that no amount of feel-good could even do much actual good without a fight.

    We've always been divided. Always will be. Accept it and move on.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sat May 25, 2013 at 08:54:34 PM PDT

    •  the 60s (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TracieLynn, Ishmaelbychoice

      were not about kumbaya. they were about the times a-changin'.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sat May 25, 2013 at 08:57:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Reagan and Nixon won 49 states. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      METAL TREK

      We probably were less divided then.

      •  that's not how it felt... (0+ / 0-)

        I did not vote for either Mr. Nixon or Mr. Reagan, and I found each regime to be difficult for many, many reasons.  Suffice to say, neither's terms of office seemed particularly unifying, and I knew of many individuals who, like I, could not stomach either.  

        It was especially painful to hear Mr. Reagan called "the great communicator," in part because it was repeated over and over again by a press that seemed to have lost any pretense of journalism or independence -- they simply repeated the hype -- and in part because it was patently untrue.  He communicated nothing (although his ninny wife communicated with the great beyond and had his chief of staff schedule his appointments according to her astrologer's dictates).  

        The "great communicator" of the 1980s and many decades more was Miss Peggy Lee, who would have been 93 today.  And when I think of Mr. Nixon or Mr. Reagan, which is next to never, I can again hear the lyrics Peggy Lee expressed so eloquently and hauntingly:  "is that all there is?"  

        President Kennedy and President Johnson were giants among men, while Mr. Nixon and Mr. Reagan were puny, pesky nothings.  

  •  One parties states are totalitarian (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laconic Lib, Matt Z

    This is what is so scary listening to the Beltway crowd calling for bipartisanship. True bipartisanship should arise over issues for which there is a consensus. There should be a bipartisan consensus that corporations should pay higher taxes, for example, since that's what the American people believe by 66:21 percent according to the latest poll. Instead, there is a bipartisan consensus that the corporate tax rate should be lowered. This is a clear signal that our democracy is failing. The elites are substituting their opinions for their constituents'.

    What we have is a one-party state representing an oligarchy. But it is not seamless enough for the Beltway crowd. They want to end partisanship altogether. That was what dictators achieve.

    What we need is much more partisanship. We need two (or more) strong parties, vigorously representing the interests of business and of labor unions, of religious conservatives and atheists, of pensioners and children. A healthy system would include all these in reasonable proportion to the population. Let the contending factions come together and passionately make their argument on a level playing field, and let the stronger argument prevail. This is the vision that our Founders had. Even if they failed to achieve it, we can.  

    But, please, no more of this grand lie we call freedom. Without a free press, without elections that money cannot buy, without the engagement of the poor in the process, we are living in the shadows between democracy and totalitarianism.  

  •  Not to toot my own horn, but.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sebastianguy99

    The GOP damages itself far more than Obama could ever dream of: http://www.sfbg.com/...

    NEW SINGLE! http://johnnyangelwendell.bandcamp.com/

    by Johnny Wendell on Sat May 25, 2013 at 09:19:46 PM PDT

  •  Obama in 2 years accomplished more than JFK in 3. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TLS66, jj32, sebastianguy99, Jeff Simpson

    So I'm not sure that holding up JFK as the standard, or citing JFK's comments as if he's some sage, is sound analysis.

  •  IF it were to kick rich pig ass, instead of kiss (0+ / 0-)

    rich pig ass, I wouldn't care ...

    I wouldn't care about all the times I voted AGAINST the Democratic Party platform for these clinton - obama lying ass 'moderates' --

    except, instead of playing the right wing defined 'moderate' game to kick right wing ass, they were just f'king liars who were just lying to sell us out to wall street and ahip and ed deform.

    The ONLY good to come out of obama and his 2010 AHIP bullshit is that I no longer waste time, money or votes helping lying sell outs!

    rmm.

     

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Sat May 25, 2013 at 10:05:27 PM PDT

  •  Here is the problem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sebastianguy99, Tony Situ

    Running on unity is usually a winner. Bush ran as a "uniter, not a divider", Clinton ran as a centrist/moderate/pragmatic Third Way Democrat.

    I realize that's not how things work out when you actually get to the politics of governing. But that schtick is what gets candidates elected.

    For better or worse, more partisan rhetoric from people like Palin or whatever her equivalent is on the left, isnt what gets candidates elected.

  •  Obama never did anything to unite the country. (0+ / 0-)

    He tried and failed to bridge the partisan divide in Washington.

    There's a difference.

    On issue after issue, he refused to take the side more popular with voters if it would make his paymasters unhappy. The public option. Expanding Medicare. Climate change. War. Torture. Wall Street banksters. Austerity vs putting people back to work. Contraception vs the clan of the red beanie. Et cetera, ad nauseam.

    He hasn't unified the country because he is working for the 1%.

    Obama is the Chickenshit-in-Chief for failing to stand up to Republicans on all their phony scandals, from the "beer summit," to Van Jones, "death panels," Shirley Sherrod, contraception, Benghazi, and the IRS.

    by expatjourno on Sun May 26, 2013 at 12:57:49 AM PDT

  •  A while ago, I noticed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eeff, Tony Situ

    the single best way to explain the problem we're having right now in politics, the reason things are as they are.

    During his campaign, Obama said it was one of his big goals to reach across the isle, to work with the republicans on national issues.

    Before Obama took office, the rightwing decided they wanted Obama to fail.

    I desperately hope its really not that simple. But damned if it doesnt look like it. Its the only thing i can think of that actually explains everything the conservatives have done, including the blatant lying and reversal of their own positions.

    "Trust not the words of a poet, as he is born to seduce. Yet for poetry to seize the heart, it must ring with the chimes of truth."

    by kamrom on Sun May 26, 2013 at 01:43:47 AM PDT

  •  Country is split literally down the middle (0+ / 0-)

    Obama causes tectonic drift. Story at 11.

    doomsday device? ah, now the ball's in farnsworth's court! i suppose i could part with one and still be feared.

    by scurvy turbo on Sun May 26, 2013 at 06:02:11 AM PDT

  •  It depends which question you look at (0+ / 0-)

    There is a slew of polling that clearly shows people do indeed see Republicans as the problem when it comes to getting anything done.

    "What do you mean "conspiracy"? Does that mean it's someone's imaginings and that the actual polls hovered right around the result?" - petral

    by conspiracy on Sun May 26, 2013 at 07:35:53 AM PDT

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