The Crossroads Of George W. Bush And Barack Obama

According to Joe Scarborough, they both wanted to be uniters -- but wound up being dividers:
In 2008, Obama won with a huge wave of independent voters. In 2010, polls show independents leaving Democrats in droves.

In 2008, Obama impressed many Republicans I met on the campaign trail with his promise to bring a more mature, post-partisan style to Washington. In 2010, Gallup’s polls show him to be the most polarizing president in modern history.

Making matters worse for the president’s damaged brand, The New York Times reports that his party plans to launch the most negative campaign in years. Democratic strategists helpfully explained to the Times that the purpose was to distract voters from Obama’s record over the past two years.

So it’s come to this: Obama’s campaign themes of Hope and Change have devolved into a nasty and brutish off-year campaign message that will focus instead on tax liens and divorce filings.

The White House is mixing its message in a way that won’t save Democrats in 2010 — and may have a profound effect on Obama’s brand moving forward.

I believe Obama, like George W. Bush before him, believed he could be a uniter and not a divider. But he was also determined to achieve his vision of an activist federal government, and he was told early on that the only way to do that was by first being the Democrat in chief.
Read his whole op-ed. It's a good read.

I think that Scarborough has a point here. My guess is that many moderates, independents -- and even Republicans -- who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 are now feeling some buyer's remorse. It seems that all of that 'hope & change' has once again devolved into hyper-partisan bickering and name-calling.

This is not entirely Obama's fault, but it is something in which this administration has actively taken part (i.e. going after Fox News Channel earlier this year).


Photo: White House photo by Eric Draper