by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Joe Biden appears to be doubting whether he can keep his campaign promise to unify the nation as he adopts an even more partisan tone in a midterm election year.
If true, the acknowledgment demonstrates Biden’s recognition he has failed to manage expectations as former President Barack Obama did with his “hope and change” mantra before him.
“He can’t unite America because he doesn’t understand America,” Reagan biographer Craig Shirley said of Biden. “Nor does he understand the bully pulpit or presidential leadership.”
Although Shirley agreed modern campaigns should be aspirational, he countered that far-left rhetoric did not achieve that.
“Obama used words he did not understand,” Shirley said. “He was skilled in the study of himself, which is why he was the nation’s first Facebook president.”
Even Democrats are disappointed with the failure of Biden’s Republican bridge-building as president, according to Aggressive Progressive podcast host Christopher Hahn.
“Biden underestimated the depth of division felt by a very large percentage of Americans,” Hahn told the Washington Examiner. “That, coupled with increasing economic pain being felt by millions of families, due to inflationary forces largely beyond his control, has made it difficult to unite the nation as he hoped he could.”
Brookings Institution Governance Studies Vice President and Director Darrell West echoed Hahn’s concerns, suggesting discord is “too deep to be resolved any time soon.”
“Polarization has built up over the last several decades, and it is going to take more than high hopes and fond wishes to bring the nation together,” he said. “There are too many incentives for extremism and misinformation to make a serious dent in our current divisions.”
After Obama and Biden, Northeastern University political science chairman Costas Panagopoulos conceded no president can “single-handedly” be the healer in chief. Instead, he pointed to the need for bipartisan collaboration.