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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Obama the divider

by digby

One of the most annoying habits of the right is their propensity for  "I know you are but what am I" rhetoric.  Among the stupidest is their obstructing every proposal and bringing the government to a crashing halt and then blaming President Obama for failing to achieve bipartisan nirvana after promising that he "would bring people together."  It's a cute trick.

They've gone one step beyond that in recent times by proclaiming that Obama is a divider because he somehow "made" them act like barbarians. He was asked about this at his press conference today:

QUESTION: Some of your critics have pointed to the incredible polarized political climate as under your administration as contributing to the rise of someone as provocative as Donald Trump. Do you feel any responsibility for that, or for the protectionist rhetoric from some Democratic candidates. Do you have a timeline for when you may make a presidential endorsement?


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I have been blamed by the Republicans for a lot of thing, but to be blamed for their primaries and who they are selecting, that is taking place in their primary is... novel.

Look, I've said -- I said at the State of the Union that one of my regrets is the degree to which polarization and the nasty tone of our politics has accelerated, rather than waned over the course of the last seven and a half years, and I do all kinds of soul searching in terms of --- Are there things I can do better to make sure we're unifying the country, but I also have to say, Margaret, that objectively it's fair to say that the Republican political elites, and many of the information outlets, social media, television stations, talk radio, have been feeding the Republican base for the last seven years, a notion that everything I do is to be opposed, that cooperation or compromise somehow is a betrayal, that maximalist absolutist positions on issues are politically advantageous.

That there's a them and us, and it's the them that are causing the problems we're experiencing, and the tone of that politics -- which I certainly have not contributed to -- I have not -- you know, I don't think that I was the one to prompt questions about my birth certificate, for example. I don't remember saying, hey, why don't you ask me about that.
Why don't you question whether I'm American or whether I'm loyal or whether I have America's best interests at heart.

Those aren't things that were prompted by any actions of mine, and so what you're seeing within the Republican party is to some degree all those efforts over a course of time creating an environment where somebody like a Donald Trump can thrive.

(I'm fairly sure that if Clinton somehow wins the presidency she too will provoke them into acting like animals. Women have been hearing that stuff for a very long time ... why do you make me hit you baby? You know I don't want to ...)

I'm glad to hear the president answer that stupid question and answer it with the proper disdain. It's ridiculous.

There was a time when I used to say that the GOP defined bipartisanship as the Democratic president passing their agenda with no questions asked. I learned that was dangerously naive. They wouldn't have agreed if he had produced Paul Ryan's budget verbatim and lined up every Democrat in both houses to vote for it sight unseen.  Anything they would vote for and he would sign had to be vigorously opposed. Until there is a major come to Jesus moment for the GOP that's just the way it's going to be.