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Define and Conquer

May 20, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 34 • By JAY COST
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His disclaimers lauding sensible centrism aside, Barack Obama is the most partisan president since at least Richard Nixon, and maybe even since Harry Truman. He seems to have a visceral dislike of his opponents, deep in his bones, and his political strategy since the spring of 2008 has been to win by disqualifying them altogether.

This suggests no grand bargain to deal with our looming problems will be forthcoming. There will be no Obama version of Ronald Reagan’s 1986 tax reform or Bill Clinton’s 1996 welfare reforms. Team Obama is so committed to partisan warfare that such a breakthrough seems improbable. Conservative reformers who desperately want to fix the nation’s broken public policy will just have to wait this hyper-partisan president out.


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