Compare and contrast:
In 2000, Bush offered a political reconciliation: Elect me and the bitter partisanship will come to an end. "I don't have enemies to fight," he said at his 2000 convention, "and I have no stake in the bitter arguments of the last few years. I want to change the tone of Washington to one of civility and respect."And Obama’s a rock star while Bush is Iraq stuck.
That was a promise that today no one could plausibly claim Bush meant in the first place, but it was just what many Americans wanted to hear. In a similar way--and sincerely, it appears--Obama is offering a national reconciliation. Bush made an argument about who he was--upstanding, moderate, uninterested in partisan sniping. Obama makes an argument about who we are, in the hopes that we can get beyond what divides us even though we disagree, and move to a new era of comity, perhaps not in Washington but in our own lives. Whether a politician can accomplish such a thing is not particularly relevant; the question is how much people want to believe what he says.