Matt Negrin writes a eulogy for "The old Obama, who wanted to bring people together" in ABC News Wednesday. By Negrin's estimation, Barack Obama's message of unity and hope was born on the 2004 Democratic National Convention stage in Boston, and made it to the right age of eight years old, before dying Monday. It is at this point in time that Negrin says the president just gave in to the "bitter realization that he needed to win reelection in an increasingly partisan political environment."
Obama's illness got the best of him late Monday, as he announced that his campaign for four more years in the White House would be based not on optimism, but rather the shady corporate record of his opponent, Mitt Romney, who ran a private-equity firm that few Americans knew about before this year.
On May 21, 2012, more than three years after he was sworn into office, Obama confessed at a press conference in his hometown, Chicago, that he had become one of those peddlers.
That day, his campaign had published a video attacking Romney for his role at his firm, Bain Capital, which bought an Indiana office supplies company and profited off of it before it went bankrupt. The ad said nothing about Obama, and even a handful of Democrats began criticizing the ad for dishonestly targeting the arena of private equity.
It was impossible for Obama not to change at least a little while living inside the walls of the White House. The first part of his term was characterized by huge spending projects that Republicans opposed fervently -- the stimulus, the auto bailout, the health care overhaul -- and even when compromise seemed possible, partisanship prevailed.
At some point, his friends said, Obama realized that he couldn't hold Republicans' hands and govern with them. He started his own executive order campaign designed deliberately to run around Congress.
Yes indeed, the president's (inevitabele) Bain Capital campaign attack ad is the end of "Obama, the uniter."
President Obama still wanted to bring people together when he pushed a mandate in his health care law forcing employers to provide services that go against their religious conscience, only to produce a faux compromise, then through advocates promote the idea of a GOP "war on women." President Obama still wanted to bring people together when he promoted his own war on wealth, demonizing high income earners through "class warfare" rhetoric because they are hesitant in paying for policy that assumes broadening the scope of government will get the economy back on track. President Obama still wanted to bring people together when he abdicated leadership during the debt crisis last summer, walking away from the table to the televised podium to not present a plan of his own, but to tell viewers to "make your voice heard", aka call your congressman. President Obama still wanted to bring people together when he pushed a polarizing health care reform bill down the country's throat.
We are definitely now witnessing a new Obama.