Republicans call Obama inaugural speech too partisan. Right or wrong? (+video)
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In the short run, this may mean that in the coming months it is unlikely fiscal negotiations will produce any sort of grand bargain in which the White House accepts trims in exchange for GOP concessions.
That’s because he offered up few sweeteners to Republicans, writes Fred Barnes in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece.
“The highly partisan theme was a departure from recent second inaugural addresses,” according to Mr. Barnes.
In the longer run, Obama’s perceived tilt leftward will endanger red-state or swing-state Democrats, other conservative commentators claim.
There are eight such senators up for reelection in 2014: Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Begich of Alaska, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Max Baucus of Montana, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, and Mark Udall of Colorado.
These incumbents “will have nothing to gain by taking tough votes on Obama’s left-wing ideas,” writes Jennifer Rubin on her Right Turn blog at The Washington Post.
That may be true. But Obama’s pivot to a more partisan stance in his inaugural address is simply recognition of political reality, others say.
Voters like to hear references to the need for Washington to work together, and politicians like to believe they can surmount partisan turmoil to get things done. But voters and the two big US political parties have been gradually becoming more polarized for decades, as former Democrats in the South turn Republican and moderate Republicans disappear or turn to the other side, writes George Washington University associate professor of political science John Sides in The Huffington Post.
“My purpose is not to decide which party deserves more blame. It is to point out that polarization and partisanship have deep roots and cannot easily be changed by a single political leader, even the president. This is why Obama’s promise as a post-partisan would never last long,” writes Mr. Sides.