Who's the divider, Bush or Obama?
Pointing fingers at the more polarizing president
"Bush flunkies" have some nerve, said Joe Klein in Time. Karl Rove and company are saying that President Obama is more polarizing than George W. Bush. But given that Obama had to "take dramatic action, at home and abroad, to start lifting the country from the mess Bush made almost everywhere," it's amazing that there aren't more teabags flying around.
There's no point denying facts, said former Bush deputy assistant Peter Wehner in Commentary. Obama entered office with strong GOP support, but a recent Pew Research Center survey found that his approval rating among Republicans had fallen to 27 percent. Obama's "governing approach" -- shutting out Republican input on the budget, the stimulus, culture-of-life issues -- has caused the polarization.
Obama's low approval rating among Republicans isn't his fault, said Jonathan Chait in The New Republic. Overall, the president still gets high marks from 60 percent of the nation. But the GOP has "has shrunk to a pungent, highly conservative core," so it's easy to understand why the Republican faithful aren't happy with their new leader.
Obama's defenders are twisting themselves into knots to "dilute the impact," said Pejman Yousefzadeh in the New Ledger, of the finding that Obama is the most polarizing president in four decades, judging by early job approval ratings. If it was fair to accuse Bush of being "a divider, not a uniter," it's fair to make the same criticism of Obama, especially since he promised to bring us together.