Lost amidst the left-wing chest-thumping about allegedly mean-spirited, racist, anti-gay, horrible, no good, very bad Republican and Tea Party reactions to the passage of Obamacare is the absence of magnanimity from the victors. The signing ceremony resembled a “partisan pep rally“. The president and his Democratic allies behave as if conservatives lacked legitimate reasons to oppose his plan (even as they lost one-eighth of their caucus on the vote and had to twist arms and bribe lawmakers to get enough reluctant House Democrats to vote for passage to muster a meager majority.)
Instead of acknowledging how the debate engendered bitter exchanges while intensifying political differences in Washington and across the country, the president seeks to perpetuate them, mocking “Republicans’ campaign to try to repeal his new health care law, saying Thursday they should ‘Go for it’ and see how well they fare with voters.” “A better man”, Dan Riehl writes, “would have tried to mend fences, not widen gaps.”
On Good Morning America, Senator Scott Brown (R-Massachusetts*) called the president’s rhetoric “inappropriate.” Indeed it is.
Rather than herald the passage of reform in unifying terms, the president returns to the stump, making campaign-style speeches. And he all but refuses to the concerns of opponents of the legislation, dismissing them instead as partisanship gamesmanship. He prefers to rally his base. A healer and a united he ain’t.
Maybe more people would rally to his health care overhaul if he chose to confront those concerns rather than dismiss and otherwie belittle them.
In this way, the incumbent very much resembles the worst aspects of his predecessor who did not often enough take to the airwaves to explain why his Iraq policy was in the national interest. Only George W. Bush did not so mock his partisan adversaries.
The president has a great gift for the spoken word; it’s unfortunate, he’s not using it to unite the nation.
*I so love writing that, I had to spell the state’s name out.