Marco Rubio, Republican Senator from Florida and the new Republican hope to attract Latino voters has declared in his campaign to get the Vice Presidential nod from Romney that Barack Obama is the most divisive president in our nation's history.
That Rubio charge can be addressed on a number of levels. First, historically he’s just wrong. Abraham Lincoln’s election was used as an excuse by some southerners to get their states to secede from the Union. Ultimately a Civil War ensued because the “divisive” President Lincoln insisted on keeping this one nation. Six hundred thousand Americans died, four million slaves were freed from bondage and America remained one nation. But if you believed the southerners, and the northern Democrats, it was all due to that divisive “Black Republican” A. Lincoln.
President Andrew Jackson because of his successful attack on the Bank of the US was censured by the Senate; and, the political parties of the 1830's were developed around whether you liked or disliked “King Andrew”.
And of course there was Franklin Delano Roosevelt (referred to as Rosenfeld by his anti Semitic conservative opponents). The haters hated him. He said he reveled in their hatred. And because of the unity of the country after Pearl Harbor the popular image is not of the divisiveness of the 1930's. A divisiveness by the way that pitted a minority of voters against a clear and recurring majority.
Now along comes Barack Obama. Following eight years of the Bush-Cheney Presidency in which the concept of dividing our people by age, gender, class, ideology and life style met its apogee and was the political strategy of both the election of 2000 (where a majority of the American voters rejected it) and 2004.
President Obama since his inauguration has made effort after effort to work with his opponents. He even adopts their policies to the chagrin of liberal Democrats and then the right wing radical tea party Republican turn on him. They blame him for the failures and or weaknesses of their policies that he institutes. And they deny him credit for his successes - such as saving the American auto industry. In the election of 2008 Obama did not make an issue of McCain being born in the Canal Zone but the right wing tea party Republicans continue to this day to make an issue of his birth in Hawaii. In one state, Arizona, they are even trying to deny people the right to vote on his re-election. The Republicans in the Senate filibuster every proposal and delay every appointment. The attacks on the President make the attacks on Bill Clinton seem mild in comparison.
On the first matter to come before the administration the President compromised on the amount of the stimulus and while economists now concede that that program prevented the economy from getting worse their remains a strong contingent who believe that it should have been much larger. The President has given ground to the Republicans on program cuts as they hold expiring programs and debt ceilings hostage - the result - while the private sector tries to reinvigorate the economy the Republican forced compromises reduce the governments participation in pumping up the public sector. On health care the President compromised - dropped the Democratic public option and incorporated the Republican individual mandate and so what did they do -- appealed to the Supreme Court to ditch the plan because it contained their individual mandate.
Who here has been divisive - the President who smiles when attacked and offers to reason together -- or the Republicans who cannot concede even the fact of his birth not to mention the sincerity of his patriotism.
Rubio and The Romneyites are the dividers. Romney with his million dollars of commercials even divides his own party as he destroys his primary opponents. For these radical right wing tea party Republicans to now claim that it is Obama who has been divisive is “like the pot calling the kettle black” or maybe that’s the problem - they can’t deal with the fact that the kettle isn’t aluminum.
21 May 2012