Jay Cost explains:
The country needs a bad guy to blame for its problems, so day in and day out Obama is providing them with a smorgasbord of villains from which to choose: Wall Street, Big Oil, the Tea Party, Paul Ryan, Rush Limbaugh, the Supreme Court, the Catholic Church, and so on. In fact, virtually everything that comes out of this president’s mouth is about redirecting blame onto some straw man.
This is why Obama does not care if his attacks are unfair, untrue, unoriginal, unseemly, or whatever. He has only one goal: The state of the union stinks right now, and I must keep that stench off me.
This strategy might get him reelected, but for what greater purpose? Barack Obama intends to break the country into fragments by shamelessly playing one group off another, in the hope that by November his share of the pieces will be just a touch larger than the opposition’s. But how can he possibly put those pieces back together again, should he be victorious?
Our system is designed to prevent big changes absent a broad consensus, which Obama has little hope of achieving with this approach. He will not get enough Democrats in Congress to replay 2009-2010, meaning that he will have to work with Republicans, the very people he is now villainizing. Does he think the sore feelings he has created will simply disappear? They won’t. When you lose somebody’s trust, you almost never get it back.
Harry Truman employed the same, rotten strategy to win reelection in 1948; he succeeded at the ballot box, but his Fair Deal largely stalled in the Congress in 1949. Unsurprisingly, after months of dividing the people with class warfare rhetoric, Truman was unable to bring them back together to govern.
Barack Obama should expect nothing more, and I cannot help but marvel at how diminished he is now relative to the heights of just 3 years ago.