I was on Sean Hannity's show the other night, and the question was whether Obama's statement denying his divisiveness is defensible. It's not.
Obama said, "I don't think you or anybody who's been watching the campaign would say that in any way we have tried to divide the country. We've always tried to bring the country together."
If this weren't such a serious subject, his statement would be laughable. Let's just say it's ludicrous – and disingenuous.
A Gallup poll showed that at the end of Obama's second year in office, 81 percent of Democrats approved, while 13 percent of Republicans did. This represents a 68 percent gap, the widest of any president in his second year since such polls have been conducted.
Obama has intermittently talked a good game about bringing us together. Indeed, much of his 2008 campaign pitch was centered on his promise to be a post-partisan, post-racial president who would usher in a new kind of politics. But his performance in office in this regard can at best be described as cynical.
It's one thing to earnestly try but fail to bring the two sides together. Though Democrats will deny it, that was the case with George W. Bush. On many issues, Bush didn't say, "It's my way or the highway." He poured more federal money into education than even any Democrat had ever done.
With Obama, it's always, "I want us to sit down and work on this." But as soon as a Republican tries to offer his input, he says, "I'm the president" or "You can't count the time I speak against the Democrats' allotted time in this bipartisan health-care summit because, ahem, I'm the president" or "I don't want you to do a lot of talking."
Obama hasn't been divisive just because his policies are so unpopular, though that's a large part of it. He has intentionally engaged in identity politics, trying to pit groups of people against each other on the basis of race, gender, religion, economic earnings and sexual orientation. He has pitted labor against management, creating an adversarial and litigious climate. He has demonized private jet owners, domestic energy producers (oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear energy), corporations, the Chamber of Commerce, businesses, executives, financial institutions, insurance companies, doctors, tea partiers, small-town inhabitants (bitter clingers), immigration enforcement advocates and the so-called 1 percenters.
Indeed, there is not enough space in a column to chronicle all of Obama's polarizing conduct even as an abridged list, but let me give you a flavor of it. In addition to the foregoing, he and his team:
- called American businesses soft and lazy and said they'd lost their ambition; they didn't build that; they need to up their game;
- baselessly accused the Chamber of Commerce of accepting foreign contributions and said it had the burden of proving it did not;
- said Mitt Romney, in effect, killed a lady who lost her insurance;
- say the "wealthy" aren't paying their fair share;
- stepped on the conscience protections of people of faith and attacked a Lutheran school's right to hire and fire on religious grounds;
- use "gay rights" as a wedge issue and depict opponents of same-sex marriage as bigots;
- manufactured a phony GOP "War on Women";
- say Republicans want dirty air and dirty water and rejoice when people lose their insurance coverage, that they want a smaller America and don't believe in rebuilding roads and bridges, that they are hostage takers and Slurpee sippers. He says they created this mess, and they should sit in the backseat of the car. We'll have hand-to-hand combat with them on Capitol Hill, and if they bring a knife, we'll bring a gun;
- crammed Obamacare down the throats of a strongly opposed majority;
- continue to scare seniors, the "middle class" and the "poor" into believing Republicans want to destroy Medicare;
- publicly ridiculed and demonized the Supreme Court on multiple occasions;
- disparaged hedge fund managers as "playing with other people's money";
- vilified immigration enforcement advocates as racists;
- waged a war against states on immigration and voter ID laws;
- worked against military ballots;
- lawlessly rewrote loans in the GM and Chrysler restructurings to favor unions and cheat secured creditors; and in Solyndra, to subordinate taxpayers to private investors; and
- exploited race and minority relations for political purposes and for ideological reasons, including Eric Holder calling the nation cowards on race, racializing voter intimidation laws and saying the GOP was after him on Fast and Furious because he, like Obama, is an African-American; appealing to Hispanics and blacks to vote as a bloc for Democrats because Democrats are their friends and Republicans their enemies; and accusing the GOP of supporting voter ID laws to suppress the minority vote and immigration laws for racial reasons.