Voters elected Barack Obama in November 2008 – at least in part – based on an American myth. Seventeen months later, the same allegory is creating a host of consequences for individual politicians, as well as the way citizens view political institutions like Congress.
The myth concerns the level of political consensus in America. It’s a lot lower than most people think. Polls may show high levels of agreement on generic aspirations like peace, prosperity, or even a better education system. But when it comes to specific steps to achieve these goals, things begin to unravel.