Veneer of What?

by John Holbo on January 23, 2013

Victor Davis Hanson on ‘the meaning of the Inaugural Address’:

Three, the bitter election wars to achieve and maintain a 51–53 percent majority (the noble 99 percent versus the selfish 1 percent, the greens versus the polluters, the young and hip versus the stodgy and uncool, the wisely unarmed versus the redneck assault-weapon owners, women versus the sexists, gays versus the bigots, Latinos versus the nativists, blacks versus the “get over it” spiteful and resentful, the noble public sector versus the “you didn’t build that” profiteers, Colin Powell/Chuck Hagel/reasonable Republicans versus neanderthal House tea-party zealots), in Nixonian fashion have left a lot of bitter divisions that lie just beneath the surface of a thinning veneer.

Now that’s a sentence! Please feel free to award points for style and content.

Is he trying to say that America is divided, because the Democrats (but not the Republicans?) are a partisan force? Or is he trying to say that Democrats are perilously divided against themselves (because they have tried to turn America against Republicans?) Or is he trying to say that there are bitter divisions in the Republican party (because Democrats have found some wedge issues), and as a result the possibility of civil, orderly government/society is threatened? Your guess is as good as mine, I suppose.