As predicted, the Republicans' lunatic behavior means that Obama lost his "promise" by failing to turn shrieking harpies into calm, deliberative statesmen:
But there is no doubt that in the course of this debate, Mr. Obama has lost something — and lost it for good. Gone is the promise on which he rode to victory less than a year and a half ago — the promise of a “postpartisan” Washington in which rationality and calm discourse replaced partisan bickering.
Never in modern memory has a major piece of legislation passed without a single Republican vote. Even President Lyndon B. Johnson got just shy of half of Republicans in the House to vote for Medicare in 1965, a piece of legislation that was denounced with many of the same words used to oppose this one. That may be the true measure of how much has changed in Washington in the ensuing 45 years, and how Mr. Obama’s own strategy is changing with the discovery that the approach to governing he had in mind simply will not work.
“Let’s face it, he’s failed in the effort to be the nonpolarizing president, the one who can use rationality and calm debate to bridge our traditional divides,” said Peter Beinart, a liberal essayist who is publishing a history of hubris in politics. “It turns out he’s our third highly polarizing president in a row. But for his liberal base, it confirms that they were right to believe in the guy — and they had their doubts.
The last three presidents have been polarizing? I suppose you could put it that way. The other, more accurate, way to put it is to admit that the Republican party has gone batshit insane and so the country is polarized between their freakshow and the normal people.
Clinton ran as a centrist and governed as one and the Republicans impeached him for his trouble. Landslide Bush turned the executive branch into an imperial office, invaded countries without reason and tortured people. I suppose you could call that "polarizing" but perhaps it's more accurate to say he was a manifestation of his political party --- which is, as mentioned, batshit insane. Obama just passed a market friendly health care bill that was originally proposed by Bob Dole, largely against the will of the left. And the right wing, as usual, is apoplectic to the point of near mass insanity.
It's not like the two Democratic presidents of the three did anything that can logically be construed as so liberal that the other side can't support them. It's simply that Republicans believe no Democrat can possibly have a legitimate claim to the presidency at all. (See previous post.)
Beinert has been making this ridiculous claim for a couple of weeks now so I assume he's developed this cracked thesis for his book in which he will claim that Obama, in an act of sheer "hubris," decided to govern as a radical left winger in defiance of the country's clear desire for a post-partisan healer.
If only it were true.