As I've noted before, President Obama does, at times, seem to know how to unite people . . .only problem is, it's in opposition to him.
On a more serious note, since not long after the attacks of September 11, there has been substantial controversy about how the United States should proceed in its response. The death of Osama bin Laden was one event that united Americans in their approval . . . and it's sad to see the man who claimed to be a "great uniter" deliberately -- for his own political gain -- almost singlehandedly unravel the sense of national unity that the event itself elicited.
Finally, it strikes me that President Obama's behavior in this episode has been fully consistent with his revealed character when it comes to policy in the war on terror. First came the moral preening -- about not "spiking the football" -- in the immediate aftermath of bin Laden's death . . . just as, in the 2008 campaign, we saw plenty of the same moral preening about closing Guantanamo and harsh interrogation tactics. Then it turned out that those same policies or behavior the President had condemned became politically necessary (in the case of the latter) or (seemingly) politically desirable (in the case of the former) and we had the President adopting -- with some degree of gusto -- policies or behavior he had earlier deplored.
So while the President's conduct in this case has been deplorable, perhaps it shouldn't have been unexpected.