The biggest surprise in President Trump’s willingness to work with Democrats is how much of a surprise it is to much of America. Expressions of shock are coming from all corners, suggesting that many of us view fierce polarization as normal and bipartisanship as abnormal.
If so, add that to the legacy of Barack Obama. He was the ultimate my-way or the highway president.
Obama first gained national attention at the 2004 Democratic convention that nominated John Kerry. Then a US Senate candidate from Illinois, Obama gave the keynote address and brought the crowd to its feet with striking lines such as, “There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America” and “There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.”
That was four years before his own presidential election, but soon after getting to the Oval Office, Obama made it clear he would govern strictly as a liberal. He famously rebuffed GOP attempts to get their ideas into the stimulus package, saying bluntly, “I won.”