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New York Times congressional reporter Carl Hulse and White House scribe Julie Hirschfeld Davis teamed up to paint the president as wringing his hands over the current divided state of U.S. politics. One potential culprit almost wholly exonerated? The president himself.
Thursday’s report, “Obama’s Plea to ‘Fix Our Politics’ Has Both Sides Looking Inward,” portrayed Obama as regretful over the current state of affairs, while skipping his bouts of arrogance and the clear animosity he feels toward his GOP opposition. They also pinned the beginning of the division to Robert Bork's failed Supreme Court nomination, without mentioning Sen. Ted Kennedy's scurrilous anti-Bork speech. Instead, Hulse and Davis found a pox on both houses (which is actually somewhat more fair than the standard Times trope, which generally finds resurgent right-wing Republicans to blame for any lack of civility).
President Obama’s urgent call in his final State of the Union address to “fix our politics” posed a fundamental question: Who broke them in the first place?
The answer is that both sides did. A steady erosion underway for years has accelerated during Mr. Obama’s time in the White House and now shows itself in congressional dysfunction and campaign vitriol. The restoration project could take some time.
But don’t worry, Obama’s here to fix it (albeit after 8 years in office).