Ignorance is not innocence, but sin.
Republicans rarely criticize Obama for lack of empathy - in part because liberals have traditionally been seen as standing up for the weak and the vulnerable. Conservatives can be just as empathetic. But they believe that, in most cases, it's not government's role to be the primary dispenser of empathy.
It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone's fault. If it was us, what did that make Me? After all, I'm one of Us. I must be. I've certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We're always one of Us. It's Them that do the bad things.