The Polarizing President

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on April 5, 2009

Barack Obama: A Divider, Not A Uniter:

For all of his hopes about bipartisanship, Barack Obama has the most polarized early job approval ratings of any president in the past four decades. The 61-point partisan gap in opinions about Obama’s job performance is the result of a combination of high Democratic ratings for the president — 88% job approval among Democrats — and relatively low approval ratings among Republicans (27%).

These poll numbers reveal quite clearly that despite his talk, Obama’s political modus operandi is to play to and encourage our partisan divisions as a nation. He had a golden opportunity to bring us together as a country, but it is sadly obvious that he has squandered it, preferring to set Americans against one another and cleave the country in two. The President is hyperpartisan; having decided to dispense with the tough but necessary task of uniting the nation, Barack Obama is instead more interested in pursuing a 50%-plus-one strategy. It may win him political points, but it will damage the country’s long term interests and its ability to rally as one in a crisis. We are certainly experiencing challenging economic times–times that for all of their trouble present the President with a golden opportunity to transcend the usual political divisions and bring us together to triumph over this latest struggle to our standard of living, our way of life, and our country’s future in general, but given the chance to be a President of all the people, Barack Obama punted.

Was the above unfair? Perhaps. I certainly worked a fair amount of hyperbole into it. But those who criticized George W. Bush for supposedly being hyperpartisan had no problem working the same amount of hyperbole into their screeds to supposedly prove their points. And they waited just about as long in his first term to do so as I waited to write this, while ignoring altogether the fact that Congressional Democrats–heck, the Democratic party at large–declared political war on President Bush as soon as the Florida recount got settled.

Just thought I’d point that out.

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