Of all the disappointments of the Barack Obama presidency, probably the greatest was his inability to honor his campaign commitment to change the political culture in Washington. Nearly everyone agrees that he came to power at a time of poisoned politics in the nation’s capital. He promised to change that. No one can credibly argue that things are better now. But there remains widespread and intense disagreement on who bears the blame for the ongoing rancor of our national politics some five years into the Obama presidency.
Looking at it from the standpoint of how American politics works, the blame rests with Obama.
During his initial 2008 presidential campaign, Obama promised to “turn the page on ugly partisanship in Washington so we can bring Democrats and Republicans together to pass an agenda that works for the American people.” On another occasion, he declared that “the time has come to move beyond the bitterness and anger that’s consumed Washington….To build a coalition for change that stretches through red states and blue states….We’re choosing unity over division.”