November elections don’t usher in new epochs. Obama was elected by a freakish perfect storm of crises, not a sudden transformation of attitudes. The economic meltdown that made him now threatens to unmake him.
Obama’s own near-obsessive, Lincoln-like harping on the nation’s divisiveness throughout his campaign was both a warning of the coming storm and a self-fulfilling prophecy.
He has been, from the beginning, the most divisive president since Lincoln. As well he should be. In personal origin, public demeanor, and social agenda, Obama is the most original president the country has ever had. Guns and violent rhetoric (not to mention, God forbid, real violence) are how a certain type of American pays homage to an authentic disruption.
Yet this irrational opposition to Obama now is a small thing roaring. Blinded by their apocalyptic optimism—which turns like a tropism to the opposition’s apocalyptic pessimism—liberals haven’t been able to see beyond it to the more manageable rational resistance. They won’t let Obama do what he does with genius: play politics. Having come to associate politics with its perversion, they considered Obama’s victory a triumph over politics itself. In their eyes, we are not just living in a post-racial society. We are living in a post-political one. No compromise!