Barack Obama came to prominence, and then to power, as a synthesizer. He held himself out as a visionary who could overcome the stubborn clash between thesis and antithesis that has characterized our recent politics.
Recall his frequent insistence that the clashes in our politics are the product of "false choices." And recall his major speeches.
At the Democratic convention in 2004, he purported to synthesize the clash between "Red" and "Blue" America by pointing out that conservatives in Red States have gay friends while liberals in Blue States coach little league baseball. And in his 2008 Philadelphia speech on race relations, he synthesized an imaginary clash between the racism of Rev. Wright and the alleged racism of his own white grandmother.