From a just-published article in The New Republic called “The Unnecessary Fall of Barack Obama: A Counter-history,” by John B. Judis.
“Obama …. has a strange aversion to confrontational politics. … During his campaign and his first year in office, he held to a blind faith in bipartisanship, even as the Republicans voted as a bloc against his legislation. He is, perhaps, ill-suited in these respects for an era of bruising political warfare. His advisers have clearly reinforced these inclinations. In the campaign, they fashioned him as the outsider candidate of ‘hope’ and ‘change’ and have extended this strategy into the presidency itself. They see him as standing above party. … These efforts to elevate Obama above the hurly-burly of Washington politics have been disastrous. Obama’s image as an iconic outsider has become the screen on which Fox News, the Tea Party, radical-right bloggers, and assorted politicians have projected the image of him as a foreigner, an Islamic radical, and a socialist. He has remained ‘the other’ that he aspired to be during the campaign, but he and his advisers no longer control how that otherness is defined.”