Voters want their political leaders to be less compromising, not more. From Wall Street Journal:
Asked whether it is more important to have a president who stands up for his convictions or who seeks common ground, the people surveyed split 56% – 38% in favor of standing for convictions. That compares with a 46%-43% split in June 2007, when George W. Bush was still president.
The biggest increase in demand for a fighting spirit came from Democrats who in 2007 strongly preferred — by a 54%- 35% margin — a president who sought middle ground. Now they favor a president who stands on conviction by 50%-45%.
I find this result deeply ironic, because President Obama ran on bringing both sides of the aisle together and pitched it as one of his greatest strengths. It appears watching the result of Obama trying and failing miserably to do just that, that more of the American people have come to the conclusion it is not something they want.
I don’t find this surprising though. The Republicans showed that a solid wall of opposition does a better job of advancing your goals than trying to reach compromise. The result was often that Democrats got nothing, as with climate change, or still ended moving their legislation far to the right while getting all the blame, as with health care reform. After watching the last four years, I doubt many people on either side of the political spectrum think trying to find common ground with the other side is an effective way to govern.
If Obama is giving up on a message of trying to find common ground, it’s because he’s reluctantly responding to the new reality. Obama thought he could end partisanship, but he has only made it stronger both at the top and the grassroots level.