“Us” versus “Them”

From Victor Davis Hanson:

Barack Obama ran a healing campaign. He offered sonorous themes of a country no longer to be divided by blue-state/red-state animosities, by race, by income — or by much of anything.

In turn, we were to suspend disbelief over his past hardball campaigns for the state senate and the U.S. Senate. The young, charismatic, post-racial, post-political inheritor of Camelot could not really have compiled the most partisan record in the Senate. We were to think away his tough-guy Chicago-style associates. His pastor at the time, the venomous Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was an aberration. And when candidate Obama occasionally derided George W. Bush, it was considered rough, but deserved.

Alas, the first nine months of this administration have proven the most polarizing in memory. Polls show a 61 percent partisan gap. Obama is now rated as the most divisive first-year president in the past four decades. As this week’s elections suggest, even in liberal New Jersey and moderate Virginia, voters are becoming tired of being caricatured as either saints or sinners, depending on the degree to which they embrace the Obama vision. No wonder. As a Manichean, he increasingly envisions the world as “us” versus “them.”


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