Insofar as racial reconciliation goes, the promise of Barack Obama was that he'd be the guy who could bring warring factions to the same table, over a beer, and get them to understand each other.
If the election of President Obama momentarily defused ideological tensions in America, after six months of governing, they've resurfaced. Like the left and President Bush, the right in American has depersonalized Obama to the point where everything he does is wrong; that the only way to demonstrate this is to position yourself in complete opposition to wherever he is. This frustrating yin-yang politics is one reason for the lack of faith in our political institutions. Perhaps it was naive for Obama to expect that it would be otherwise.
This morning, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs laughed at the notion that the president had any intention of apologizing to Sgt. Crowley or further commenting on the situation in Cambridge. One would assume that Mr. Gibbs's confidence came from a chat with the President himself. It has been easy to deflect responsibility onto the press. On Tuesday, Obama responded to a question from the Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet as if Sweet was still chasing Obama around Springfield. He responded as a friend of Gates's; he responded in the context of a media environment that accepted Gates's narrative. This was catnip to Republican ideologues, who astutely turned up the volume, -- hey, he hates cops! and to the media, who instantly created sides -- kind of like turning a circle into a square.