No president, it seems to me, can escape politics - JFKThe 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.
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.”