Everyone does it, no one benefits from it, and it particularly demeans the office of the presidency. But the president is resorting to it with greater frequency these days.
Just a sampling of headlines, and for each one there were plenty of others not captured here.
And that’s just a sampling. Why this sudden assault on Republicans?
Here’s my guess. Barack Obama was brought up in his early formative years in the Saul Alinsky school of community organizing, putting to great effect Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. One of those rules was to pick a target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it. Obama has used this strategy unlike any president of memory. He has ‘named the enemy’ throughout his presidency and attacked Republicans, Sarah Palin in particular (though why the president would take on a former small-town mayor and state governor who ran for vice-president, and lost, is both questionable and telling), Fox News, the Cambridge Mass. police force, the Supreme Court (in an unprecedented criticism of that body during a State of the Union address), Arizona lawmakers, and now the Republicans again.
The attack is timed to the November mid-term elections. If the other party can be diminished, maybe they can be defeated, or at least their victories can be minimized.
This is unpresidential. Sympathizers and staffers of George W. Bush asked him why he wouldn’t go before the public and the press to confront his attackers, and he contended it was beneath the office of the presidency. Period. No more would be said. Let history judge, for better or for worse.
The president is supposed to be the leader and the servant of all the people of the republic. This one is engaging in the partisan political sniping he promised to end when he ran for office, he is not attending to the will of the people, and his poll results show that.
For the Americans struggling with issues either being unaddressed or unresolved – or even threatened – by government, the promises of the 2008 elections have faded and become the brunt of jokes. They are looking for leaders who will inspire and elevate and ennoble, and be accountable for the results. And consequential election are under 100 days away.
Every election cycle, candidates promise to end ‘politics as usual’. All we’ve seen is a shifting definition of ‘usual.’ We want change alright. And hope is building as the election gets closer.