It seems like a very long time ago, but try to remember the hopeful spirit of bipartisanship around the time of Barack Obama’s first Inauguration. The 2008 election had been filled with talk of a new, postpartisan politics, driven in part by “Obama Republicans” from Wall Street to the military. On the night of his first swearing-in, Obama held dinners to honor his defeated GOP opponent, John McCain, and the Republican general Colin Powell. He would later dine with a group of conservative columnists. His first Inaugural Address seemed to endorse the theory that his election represented a transformation of American politics: “What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply,” Obama said.
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