The instant President Obama assumed the role of commander-in-chief the “great partisan divide” in Washington became a mammoth crevice spewing venom into an atmosphere of growing discern.
Now Obama is facing a paradoxical conundrum: Politics are standing in the way of effective politicking.
After six years at the helm of the executive branch Obama is a virtual lone wolf — Republicans refuse to work with him and Democrats are distancing themselves from him. Even the seemingly swift task of confirming presidential appointees has become an undue burden.
Immediately following the midterm elections Republicans returned to business as usual: repealing the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, nearly a quarter of the world is without U.S. ambassadors.
There appears to be no method to the madness of these vacancies. They range from such key strategic partners as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Yemen to the happy lands of Canada and the Bahamas. Brian Nichols has been waiting the longest. Obama nominated him as ambassador to Peru in June of 2013. Even Sierra Leone, the country where the Ebola outbreak began, is currently without an ambassador.
There are more than 200 stalled nominations with empty posts at State, Defense and Homeland security. This includes Surgeon General nominee, Vivek Murthy, and Attorney General nominee, Loretta Lynch. Considering the grueling confirmation process waged against outgoing Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, it is safe to assume his successor will be put through the ringer as well.
Obama’s dismal favorability rating made him a polarizing figure during the midterm elections. Kentucky senatorial candidate Alison Grimes’ campaign was derailed when she refused to admit whom she voted for in the 2008 presidential election (all logical assumptions point to Obama).
Attempting to decipher this code of conduct can be maddening. The stiff polarization between Republicans and Democrats — and within the parties themselves — is unproductive and deceitful.
Even the torture report has been deemed partisan…Apparently facts are now open for debate.
Americans have elected senators and representatives to work with the president to pass meaningful legislation, but partisan mudslinging and political divides have stymied progress. Now cities and towns are forced to function atop condemned bridges, crumbling roads and water shortages.
Obama’s attempts of a bi-partisan approach to change were met with resistance. And opposition will only strengthen when Republicans take control of both houses in January.
However, his recent demonstration of unilateral policymaking on immigration reform has rekindled the spark of hope that got him elected.
With two years left to serve, Obama can allow dwindling poll numbers and party turmoil to define him; or he can ignore outside rhetoric and do what it takes to get those cameras stationed in front of his signing desk. This current state of cynical unease must waver in order for the nation (and its president) to succeed.