- Post 11 June 2012
- By Copy Editor
Victor Davis Hanson | National Review:
Barack Obama lately has been accusing presumptive rival Mitt Romney of not waging his campaign in the nice (but losing) manner of John McCain in 2008. But a more marked difference can be seen in Obama himself, whose style and record bear no resemblance to his glory days of four years ago.
Purportedly, the president has recently been reassuring Democratic donors that his signature achievement, Obamacare, could be readjusted in his second term — something Republicans have promised to do for the last two years. What an evolution: The president has gone from telling us we would love Obamacare, to granting favored companies exemptions from it, to giving private assurances to modify it after reelection — all before it has even been fully implemented.
Obama's calls for a new civility four years ago are apparently inoperative. The vow to "punish our enemies" and the intimidation of Romney-campaign donors are a long way from the soaring speech at Berlin's Victory Column and "Yes, we can." Obama once called for a focus on issues rather than personal invective. But now we mysteriously hear again of Romney's dog, his great-grandfather's wives, and a roughhousing incident some 50 years ago in prep school.
The "hope and change" slogan for a new unity gave way to a new "us versus them" divide. "Us" now means all sorts of identity groups like African-Americans for Obama, Latinos for Obama, gays for Obamas, greens for Obama, and students for Obama. "Them," in contrast, means almost everyone who cannot claim hyphenation or be counted on as a single-cause constituency. In 2008, the Obama strategy was supposedly to unite disparate groups with a common vision; in 2012, it is to rally special interests through attacks on common enemies.