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Obama's divide-and-conquer strategy: Is it really about destroying GOP?

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The Republicans, of course, damaged themselves in the last election. The party is still digging out from Mitt Romney’s rich-guy gaffes, starting with his disparaging comments about the “47 percent.” Obama continues to crush the Republicans on the issue of who understands the concerns of the middle class. Then there were the off-key comments on rape that cost the Republicans two Senate seats and untold embarrassment nationally, especially among women voters.

But it was Obama’s unabashedly liberal speech at his second inaugural that fueled the notion that he is actively trying to splinter the opposition. He went after climate-change skeptics when he bashed those who “may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science.” He took an indirect slap at the GOP’s vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, when he dismissed the idea that the social safety net – Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security – makes us “a nation of takers.”

Obama went in for the kill with this comment: “We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate.”

House Speaker John Boehner got the message. The next day, in a speech to the moderate-Republican Ripon Society, he accused Obama of trying to “annihilate the Republican Party.”

The speaker argued that because Obama laid out an agenda that can’t get through the Republican-controlled House, the administration’s real aim must be to destroy the GOP.

“Let me just tell you,” Speaker Boehner said, driving the point home, “I do believe that is their goal – to just shove us into the dustbin of history.”

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