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President Barack Obama has earned 'Great Divider' label

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: February 10, 2013
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Columnist Paul Greenberg said it was the kind of speech that divides, not unites: “Its principal connection to the American past seemed to be one of hurt, not pride.” Instead of rising to the level of a Reagan, Greenberg wrote, Obama lowered himself to the level of a Rev. Jeremiah Wright. He divided Americans into the “shrinking few” who prosper and the “growing many” who barely make it.

The Great Communicator, by contrast, promoted prosperity for all Americans rather than a transfer of wealth from the few to the many. Reagan championed merit and individual effort rather than perpetually pitting the greedy against the needy.

A unity president would embrace sensible entitlement reform. He would use his pulpit to convince Americans that hard choices must be made to protect future generations — especially the needy — from crushing debt. A unity president would not rail against a mythical “war on women” or the unproven assumption that recent fires, droughts and powerful storms are due to human-induced global warming.

The Great Divider sorts people into those who can't seem to survive without another government program and those who want to safeguard their assets against another unsustainable tax grab. He divides energy into the good green stuff he champions and the bad black stuff that powers the presidential jet between endless campaign appearances. The latter brings in billions of dollars in taxes; the former requires taxpayer subsidies.

America cannot, he said, “treat name-calling as reasoned debate.” This came in a speech with thinly veiled name-calling throughout, a theme we expect him to repeat during Tuesday's State of the Union address. To paraphrase Reagan, is this country more divided than it was four years ago? Of course it is. And Obama is a prime reason.

We need reasoned debate. We need a reasonable president. We need a uniter.

What we have instead is unearned, unwarranted, unrelenting scorn from The Great Divider.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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