Feature

Can Obama unite America?

The president-elect’s call for moving past partisanship gets put to the test.

Barack Obama "inspired millions" with his message of hope, change, and national unity, said The Christian Science Monitor in an editorial. Let's hope he meant every word of it. Obama's historic victory "coincides with a historic period of severe challenge. These times require teamwork between the parties."

Then the president-elect is off to a bad start, said Daniel Henninger in The Wall Street Journal. In his victory speech, Obama said his election as the nation's first African-American president "proves that 'the dream of our founders is still alive in our time,'" and that he wants us all to rebuild the nation "brick by brick." That's "a little insulting" to everyone who has worked to make this nation great these last 40 years.

Obama's whole point is that we can do better, said Roger Cohen in The New York Times. For years, the words of American leaders have lost meaning—"you can't proclaim freedom as you torture." In Obama, Americans now have "a leader who can summon their better natures rather than speak, as Bush did, to their spite."

National harmony—that's a lovely thought, said David Harsanyi in The Denver Post. But the liberal wing of the Democratic Party has just "won a resounding mandate to run the country. That only means that we need a robust and principled opposition."

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